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What’s On this week in Sussex

11-18 May 2018

Bridget Christie, What Now? Brighton Dome, Fri 18 May 

Bridget Christie is one of the comedians I really rate and she’s coming to Brighton for the Festival this week. Fiercely clever, she takes on political and feminist themes but don’t be put off if you like your comedy less ranty – there are usually plenty of  self-deprecating laughs along the way. Tickets are £19.

You Win Again, celebrating the music of the Bee Gees, The Capitol, Horsham, Wednesday 16 May

Fancy some Saturday Night Fever? or even some Wednesday night fever?  The Gibb brothers’ back catalogue is quite something, as anyone who saw Glastonbury last year will recall… this show’s a tribute to the Bee Gees. I challenge you not to sing along!


Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair, 11-13 May, Petworth House

‘Banana sofa’ from Hatchwell Antiques

Among the 50 or so fine art and antiques dealers gathered for this three-day fest will be 17 newcomers, including Chelsea’s Hatchwell Antiques and Art Deco and Art Nouveau specialist Solo Antiques. Don’t go expecting bargains, but if you want to test your other half’s claim that he really is interested in the Antiques Roadshow and not just presenter Fiona Bruce, this is the place to do it. £10, free parking.

Branching Out Adventures/ Embers Camping open day, Bentley Country Park, near East Hoathly, Sun 13 May

This tree top attraction is holding a charity day on Sunday with all proceeds going to Demelza Hospice Care for Children.The family day will include full access to all that Branching Out Adventures offers, with high and low ropes course, the adrenalin-fuelled giant swing and zip wires galore. Neighbouring Embers Camping is offering wood-fired pizzas and drinks, tent building competitions, bush craft displays, face painting and more. £20 a family (2 adults, 2 kids) or £6 per person.

Spring sale, Brighton Harbour Hotel, until 15 May

Book before the 15th and save 15% (see what they did there?) on a bed and breakfast or dinner B&B stay at this boutique Brighton favourite. Rates are valid for stays until June 30. The hotel boasts a spa with Scandinavian hot tubs and the award-winning Jetty restaurant. The location could not be more central but its so fab inside you might not want to step outside at all.

Museum at Night Guided Walk, Weald & Downland Museum, Chichester 18 and 19 May

This atmospheric guided walk around the museum after it has closed might not be the stuff of sweet dreams but it promises to be an enchanting evening. The lamplight tour will include stories that are stranger than fiction, some amusing, some mysterious and some just weird. Afterwards, mull on them around an open fire with a spiced warm drink. Recommended for ages 16-plus. £25

Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese men’s fashion, until 25 Aug

Copyright British Museum

WMA has teamed up with the British Museum for the first time for a special exhibition exploring Japanese men’s fashion during the Edo period (1615-1868). The BM has brought items out of storage for the summer in a rare display of clothes, accessories and prints spanning 200 years. Entry is free.

Eurovision party, Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Brighton, Sat 12 May


Hurry, just a few tickets left to cheer SuRie on at this Brighton institution, the annual Duke of York’s party.  I’ve been before and it’s great fun with the overblown power ballads and terrible Europop on screen accompanied by serious dressing up and camping up in the cinema, with games in the interval, silly signs, goody bags and trashy raffle prizes. Tickets cost from £21. Don’t take kids; it’s on the rude side…

Ladies Day Plumpton Race Course, Sun 13 May

It’s time to bring out that posh frock and big hat and head off to the geegees for some posing. There’s a prize for Best Dressed Lady, Most Dapper Gent and for the kids if they dress up. There’s a funfair and dining’s available in the Marquee restaurant. After the real racing, there’s the South East Pony Racing Finals to lose that last tenner on. From £10 in advance, accompanied under 18s free.

Kathleen Turner, Finding My Voice, The Capitol, Horsham Fri 11 May and Connaught Theatre, Worthing, Sun 13 May

Yes, it’s true, Husky-voiced Kathleen Turner – a staple of big 80s rom-coms like Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile, The War of the Roses and Peggy Sue Got Married is coming to Sussex to sing cabaret! Something we’ve previously only see her do when she played Chandler’s drag queen dad in a cameo in Friends.  She’ll also be telling stories about her Hollywood career.  She’ll be in Horsham Fri 11 May (£29.50) and in Worthing on Sun 13 May (£28.50).

Charleston Festival, Charleston, Firle, near Lewes, Fri 18 – Mon 28 May 

Charleston’s famous literary festival is back. Sir David Attenborough will be picking up a prize (sold out as you can imagine), Ali Smith will be writng prose inspired by the House’s famous Women Dinner Service; there’ll be a discssuion on May Sheley’s Frankenstein by two expert authors in The Creation Myth and Byron’s legacy for the women he left behind in In Byron’s Wake. There’s also a story of a president’s wife’s love affair in White Houses and much more. Book a particular session or a day ticket.

The Great Escape, various venues, Brighton Thurs 17 – Sat 19 May

This is the long weekend (for some reason slap bang in the middle of the Brighton Festival) when the music industry decamps to Brighton to see up-and-coming acts. Three day tickets covering a multitude of performances are £70, but there are lots of other options and there are usually plenty of free shows in the streets. It’s a must for music fans with the bonus that you fall out of venues close to delis and restaurants rather than into a traditional festival mudbath.

Summer of Circus, Worthing theatres, May 18 – 1 July

Worthing’s fantastic season of contemporary circus launches this month with ground-breaking international acts in town. The Exploded Circus will kick things off from all-female company Mimbre. Other shows include 8 Songs – skilled juggling set to Rock ’n’ Roll – and the Giant Balloon Show with big balloon sculptures. The programme ranges from family-friendly to adult-focused and includes workshops besides. There’s a multi-buy ticket offer and the odd thing is free.

Pete Cater Big Band, Frant Church, Frant, near Tunbridge Wells, Fri 18 May

Drummer Pete brings his 16-piece band to Kent for a night of jazz in Frant. Pete has been making swinging big band sounds since 1995 and audiences keep coming back for more. He’s also worked with the likes of Tom Jones, Johnny Dankworth and Jamie Cullum, so he’s clearly a respected talent. There’s another reason to attend too, as proceeds go to the church’s conservation. £18, doors 7.30pm.

Sussex Street Food Festival, The Stade, Hastings, Fri 18- Sun 20 May

Fill your boots, your tummy, your handbag and anything else at this gathering of more than 20 street food vendors. There’s also a bar, various other stalls and glitter painting. Foodie names like Monte Forte Pizza, Just Ribz and Orgazmic Milkshake will have you groaning with pleasure and prompt passers by to want what you’ve just had. Free, midday to 10pm.

Motors by the Moat, Leeds Castle, Kent Sat 12 & Sun 13 May

Swoon over a grand selection of classic cars and high-performance cars from around the world at Leeds Castle this weekend. The display will take place on the castle lawns with the moat behind. Just hope all the handbrakes work!

The Muddy Stilettos Awards, Sussex, Finals! Mon 14 – Fri 18 May 

 Find out who has made the finals and vote for your favourite of five contenders in each category from cafe and  destination pub to photographer, family attraction, fitness instructor and many more. it all kicks off at noon on Mon 14 May and you have until Friday 6.30pm to get your votes in.


Brighton Fringe Festival, Fri 4 May – Sun 3 June

Running alongside the Festival of course is the Fringe with hundreds of cool and quirky, drama, comedy., spoken word, music, cabaret and kids events throughout the month. It’s the biggest in England don’tcha know? Plenty of good stuff on but for now my picks are Wot No Fish?, Circled in the Radio Times, Sh*tfaced Shakespeare, performance poet Luke Wright and Late Fight Gimp Fight (it’s a comedy sketch group!) I’ve seen them all – some several times – and they’re all great. Enjoy!

Mayfield Fringe/ Art Trail 6 – 14 May 

It may be a lot smaller than Brighton’s but, not to be overlooked, Mayfield in East Sussex has its own Fringe going on with musical poetry, visual art, storytellng, theatre, film and wine running till mid May. It includes, new for this year, an Art Trail of makers’ houses. 

In her Shoes, Uppark House and Garden, South Harting, near Petersfield, 5 May to 2 Sept

Mary Ann Bullock practices her signature

The National Trust’s Uppark House is commemorating the centenary of the granting of women’s right to vote with an exhibition about five intriguing women who shaped its history. Among them teenage Emma Hart was rumored to have danced on the table for the Prince Regent before becoming famous as Lord Nelson’s mistress Lady Hamilton. Mary Ann Bullock’s story is more the stuff of romantic fiction. In the 1820s Uppark’s owner Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh, then in his seventies, fell in love with her when he heard her singing in the dairy. They married, and the 20-year-old bride went to Paris to learn the social skills required for her new station in life. Free, but normal admission prices apply.

Artists’ Open Houses, Brighton, Hove, Rottingdean and Ditchling,  weekends 5 – 28 May

Buy art direct from the makers, often at nicely affordable prices during this big celebration of Sussex’s creators. It’s the largest event of its kind in the UK with 200,000 visiting the festival last year. You also get to snoop around some lovely houses! There’s an exhibition this year called Art From the Edge featuring work from the marginalised in society.


Abseiling the BAi360 – Sat 2 June and later dates

From June you’ll be able to – gulp – abseil from the British Airways i360 pod, 450ft above Brighton! The first iDrop Abseil flights are Sat 2 June, Sat 7 July and Sat 4 Aug – or form a group of 20 for your own exclusive iDrop Abseil. Ages 16+ only.

Find more ideas here

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