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What’s On this weekend in Sussex

Fri 19 - Sun 21 Oct

Tulleys’ Shocktober Fest, Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill, Crawley, until Nov 3

If you like your Halloween thrills less pumpkins and cobwebs and more chainsaw massacre get along to the famous fright night theme-park/gig Shocktober Fest. There are various ticket levels, from £33 in advance X-Scream, gives you access to each of the eight ‘haunts’ called things like  ‘twisted clowns’, creepy cottage’ and ‘the chop shop,’ along with street theatre and the live music stages. The site also offers a rather less scary chance to pick your own pumpkins from Sat 20 -Sun 28 Oct and a Spookfest, with more child-friendly scares.

Rain Man, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Mon 15 – Sat 20 Oct

Starring Gavin & Stacey’s Matthew Horne and Downton Abbey’s Ed Speleers and based on the Oscar-winning film with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, it’s the funny and tear-jerking story of self-centred salesman Charlie Babbitt who finds out he has a long-lost older brother, Raymond – an autistic savant, who has inherited the family fortune. Charlie sets out to get ‘his half’ of the cash via a road trip that ends up bringing the men together. Tickets are from £13.90. See the Muddy review.

Brighton Science Festival,  Sat 20 – Wed 31 October, various venues

This great festival of 40-plus events moves from its regular February date to October half term, bringing experts and educational entertainers including Simon Watt, Michael Brooks and Robin Ince. Last time they cut up a heart; this time they’re dissecting a human brain in front of a live audience. All in the name of science. If you’re stomach not up to that, don’t worry, they’ll also be setting off rockets, building robots and searching for the world’s ugliest animal.

Blood Brothers, The Hawth, Crawley, Tues 16 – Sat 20 Oct

When I was in my 20s I went through a musical binge stage and this was one of my favourites. It’s still going, quite a <cough> few years later and it’s now on tour. Willy Russell (also of Shirley Valentine fame) penned this tragi-comic tale which follows twins separated at birth and living very different lives. West End star Linzi Hateley stars as the boys’ birth mother Mrs Johnstone. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get some serious ear-worms. Tickets are from £30. See the Muddy review.

Philip Jackson Sculpture Exhibition, Newlands House, Petworth, 19 October – 24 November

One of Britain’s most respected and commissioned sculptors, who has produced some of our country’s best-known public works presents his largest exhibition to date at Petworth’s Augustus Brandt gallery. More than 50 works will be on show at the destination store, marking the first time Jackson has exhibited his work inside. Sculptures will sit within the 18th Century Georgian townhouse spread over 7,500 square feet of gallery space and 17 rooms. Petworth Festival Literary Week also takes place from 27 October to 4 November with authors including Fay Weldon, Tom Bower and Max Hastings in conversation.

Shoreham Wordfest, various venues, Shoreham-by-sea, until 20 Oct 

Shoreham Wordfest continues with children’s events on Sat 13 Oct. Author Sophy Henn will be at at Shoreham Library from 10.30am for stories, crafts and book signing for 4-7 year olds (get free tickets in advance). There’s also a family-friendly verison of Romeo and Juliet with exciting fight scenes at the Ropetackle in the evening. On Sun 14 Oct the Wordfest Literary Walk leaves at 10.30am from Hightrees/Bramber roundabout on the Shoreham to Steyning road for a gentle two-hour stroll along the River Adur with readings and poetry. Full programme of events on the link.

Vintage Sundays: Spaced, Picturehouse Cinemas, Brighton and London, various Oct dates.

Tying in with the release of the Neil Armstrong film First Man, Picturehouse Cinemas has a space related retrospective. It’s your chance to catch the likes of Alien (Oct 14), Apollo 13 (Oct 28) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (4 Nov) on the big screen again. The nearest Picturehouses are Brighton and London.


Michael Jackson: On The Wall, National Portrait Gallery, London, 28 June – 21 October

Moonwalk down to the National Portrait Gallery for Michael Jackson: On The Wall. The exhibition marks what would’ve been MJ’s 60th birthday and features artwork inspired by Andy Warhol and Grayson Perry among others. Shamon!


Celebrity Dusty Duck Trail, Mon 17 Sept to Mon 29 Oct

The Wetlands mascot Dusty Duck has some celebrity friends visiting. Follow the trail to find 14 Giant Dusty Ducks designed by the world famous Aardman animation studios and dressed by celebs, including Steve Backshall’s Explorer Dusty, Smarked’s (Sam and Mark’s) Tiger Dusty and Joanna Lumley’s absolutely fabulous Patsy Dusty. The trail is free with admission. AS always there’s plenty going on besides with guided boat safaris, the chance to hand feed ducks and geese plus adventure playgrounds for the young and younger.

Octoberbest, Brighton & Hove, Fri 5 Oct to Sun 21 Oct


Bargain feasting alert! 25 of the city’s top eateries are involved in this year’s Octoberbest, offering special £20 menus and deals until the end of the month. They include independent favourites like 64 Degrees, The Coal Shed, Cin Cin, Silo, Plateau, Bincho Yakitori, Pascere and Pike & Pine. I’m out of the blocks already on this one with a set menu at The Salt Room this week. Get booking!

2-for-1 Touch of Luxury package, The Beauty Island Sanctuary, Worthing, 1 Oct – 24 December

Hide from autumn with this timely offer of a four hour pampering sesh with a partner or friend. The package includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival; 90 mins private use of the spa zone with hydrotherapy pool and sauna; relaxing fruit footbath with non-alcoholic cocktail (20 mins); 24K Gold Body Ritual with Relaxing Massage and Gold Sugar Scrub (60 mins); Waterfalls of Gold moisturising and firming facial (55 minutes). The total for two guests is £160 on Mon or Tues or £175 on Sun. It goes on right up to Christmas so it will also help you prep – or recover from – the party season!

Battle Festival of Arts and Music, Battle, throughout October

Ceilidh Liberation Front

The fifth annual festival in this historic town includes an adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Opera Anywhere, set in 1950s London (7 Oct); dancing with London’s Ceilidh Liberation Front (12 Oct) and Leviathan (19 Oct), in which multi-award winning choreographer James Wilton re-imagines Moby Dick with a cast of six and a blend of athletic dance, martial arts and capoeira! For children 2-8, Oskar’s Amazing Adventure is a mix of storytelling, physical theatre and puppetry about a puppy’s search for friendship (6 Oct). Later in the month there’s a whole weekend dedicated to world-class classical music (26-28 Oct), including a recital from Russian pianist Roman Kosyakov and travel-themed family concert Around the World in 80 Minutes.

The Everyday and Extraordinary, Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne, Sat 29 September – 6 January

CRAGG, Tony AC 1992

This new touring exhibition, conceived by the Towner and Birmingham Museums Trust, looks at how found or everyday objects have been used in art works. It examines how Surrealists used ‘the everyday’ to invoke humour and satire and how Pop Artists directly appropriated items from popular culture. Entry is free.

Snailspace, Brighton, Sat 15 Sept – 18 Nov

Remember the Snowdogs? Well the street art concept is back and this time it’s giant snails invading the streets of Brighton. 50 sculptures have been decorated by artists and will later be auctioned to raise money for Martlets hospice. Celebrity sponsors with personalised creations include Peter James and Fatboy Slim. Follow the snail trail by picking up a map or downloading the app.


Literary Festival, Southbank Centre, London, Thurs 18 – Sun 28 Oct

Lots of literary luminaries like Sir Salman Rushdie and Barbara Kingsolver plus a dollop of celebs like Sally Field, Sue Perkins, Roger Daltrey, Mary Beard and Melvyn Bragg will be heading to the South Bank for the 12th London Lit Fest. The burning issues of today will be discussed and with Homer’s The Oddessy at the heart of the festival – readings, talks and discussions – there’s your culture fix in the bag.

London Restaurant Festival, various London locations, all month

The Montagu Kitchen

It’s worth popping into town this month as London’s fantastic restaurant scene is in full celebration mode with great value festival menus at loads of top-notch restaurants, plus foodie events like gastronomic weekends, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping tours, tasting menus with famous chefs, talks, films and art.






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