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What’s On this week in Sussex

Thurs 31 May - 8 June

A Motown veteran, new art exhibitions, festivals, theatre, comedy and more in this week’s What’s On in Sussex. If you are looking for more family friendly ideas, for the full What’s On for Half Term see here

Chuck Berry Lives! Movin’ Melvin Brown/tap workshops, The Warren, Brighton, 30 – 31 May/ 1-3 June

Picture James Horan/Photocall Ireland

He’s appeared on stage with the likes of Lionel Ritchie, James Brown, BB King and Stevie Wonder and performed at Oprah Winfrey’s birthday party. Now, Movin’ Melvin Brown is hitting Sussex with his show Chuck Berry Lives’ (tickets £16) as part of Brighton Fringe. He will also then be putting on his Tap Into Health workshops from 1 – 3 June, helping people dance their way to fitness.

Steyning Festival, Sat 26 May – Sat 9 June

Mixing arts and more, the first weekend of the Steyning Festival sees a children’s pop-up book workshop, a community parade with the theme of Revolution (could all get a bit Les Mis!), a jazz supper and a talk by bestselling author Sarah Dunant. As the week progresses join the sing-along Bugsy Malone screening, pop into a 16th century Quaker meeting house, join a riverside brewery tour or listen to well-loved former children’s TV presenter Floella Benjamin (now in the house of Lords) talking about Facing Adversity with a Smile.

There But Not There art installation, Arundel cathedral & St Nicholas Church, Arundel, 10 May –  11 Nov

93 transparent silhouettes of fallen WW1 soldiers have taken their position on the pews of Arundel Cathedral and nearby St Nicholas Church as the town hosts the largest ever installation by There But Not There. The charitable project commemorates the service of WW1 soldiers whilst raising money for Help For Heroes: Hidden Wounds and others. Each silhouette represents the shadow of a real WW1 soldier who never came home and bears a plaque with a name. They will be there until Armistice Day.

Sussex Days: Photographs by Dorothy Bohm/ Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 23 May – 2 Sept / 26 May – 16 Sept

Dorothy Bohm, Point to Point Race Sussex, © Dorothy Bohm Archive.jpg

Muddy Awards Best Gallery finalist Pallant House has a new free exhibition on the internationally celebrated photographer Dorothy Bohm (now aged 93) bringing together for the first time her black and white photographs of Sussex in the 60s and 70s.  Steam fairs at Horsham, racing at Goodwood, the seafront at Brighton and racing at Parham are included. Meanwhile Tate St Ives’ Virginia Woolf exhibition is also visiting Pallant this summer, opening 26 May. It features over 80 female artists, with works from 1854 upwards that represent central ideas of Woolf’s writing.

Children’s/teens photography workshops, Borde Hill gardens, near Haywards Heath, 29 May

The morning workshop is aimed at 7-11 year olds and run by Sharp Shots, which teaches kids that there’s more to photography than just selfies with their besties. The theme is capturing colour and Borde Hill’s blossoms and gardens the subject. Students will be taught camera mechanics, composition and how to take sharp colourful photos. £39, camera hire £5. An afternoon course on the same day, aimed at 12-15 year olds is £55, with DSLR camera rental £10. For the full What’s On for Half Term  see here

French Week, Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, Sat 26 May – Sat 9 June

In support of the Steyning Festival, Artisan Bakehouse has a French themed week. Staff will be doning their stripy tops, there will be Parisian café music and the menu will have a French twist with freshly made croissants, baguettes, tarte au citron, macarons and more. Come as you are, or dress with a little ooh la la! Check opening days and times on website.

Ivo Graham: Educated Guess, Komedia, Brighton, Tues 29 May

One of the brightest young things on the stand-up circuit at the moment Ivo Graham, who has appeared on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, is performing at Brighton Komedia. The Eton-educated self-confessed ‘trustafarian snowflake’ will be performing his show Educated Guess about the reality check he’s facing in his mid twenties.

Wild Wood Festival, Wakehurst, Ardingly, Sat 26 – Mon 28 May

There’s an action-packed bank holiday weekend of woodland activities at Wakehurst. In Pearcelands Wood kids can listen to trees with special microphones that let you hear beneath the bark, climbs trees guided by experts, let off steam in the trunk trek play space, explore a trail and have a go at archery. There will also be a fire-lighting masterclass, sword making, wood whittling and story-telling and don’t miss birds of prey swooping in the central arena. For the full What’s On for Half Term  see here

The Chalk Garden, Chichester Festival Theatre, 25 May – 16 June

Nothing will grow in the once grand Sussex garden of eccentric, high-born Mrs St Maugham, played by Penelope Keith. Indoors, her wild and damaged teenage granddaughter sets fires and throws tantrums. Comedy and mystery ensue when enigmatic Miss Madrigal joins the household. Tickets are from £10.

Showroom launch party, Brighton Kitchen Co, Hickstead, Sat 26 May 

A kitchen showroom launch may not sound like a sexy Saturday out but this one has cocktails and DJs! Pop in all day to the new  showroom at Ricebridge Retail, Brighton Road, Hickstead and not only can you snaffle 20% off kitchen cabinetry and bathroom products but there’s Small Batch coffee, cake, an activity corner to keep kids amused and Latin-inspired cocktails and a DJ later on. Try to RSVP on the email in the link so they can get an idea of numbers.

Shakespeare’s Globe, Chilham Castle, Canterbury, Kent, Fri 25 – Sun 27 May

It’s right over at Canterbury but it is Shakespeare’s Globe – the company is returning to Chilham Castle for a triple-bill of outdoor performances. The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night will be performed across the weekend in the dreamy grounds. If you feel like treating yourself, the event’s premium seats include a glass of champagne and an invitation to the canapé reception inside the Castle’s Grand Hall. The Globe is also coming to Brighton Open Air Theatre this summer.

1066 Walking festival 19 – 27 May

Walks to suit all ages and abilities are promised across the 1066 area for this festival, many free of charge or by donation. Hastings, Battle and Bexhill are involved, with tours in town and tramps in the countryside.


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

Charleston’s famous literary festival is upon us once more and there are still tickets left for some of the author discussions in the big marquee on the site. Book a particular session or a day ticket, buy books from Muddy Award winner City Books on site and get them signed. There are also extra house tours available for the duration. I caught a couple of sessions the other day and they gave me plenty of food for thought.

Bluebell walks in Sussex, various locations, until late May 

Bluebells are generally showing off from early or mid-April to the end of May, hanging out in old woodland and on bracken-covered hills. See my round-up of the ten best places in Sussex to catch them.

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

Art at FourThree, 30 East Gardens Ditchling. Number 4 on the trail.

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 homes and gardens!

Brighton Festival and Fringe – until Sun 3 June

The Brighton Festival is on throughout May and running alongside of course is the Fringe with hundreds of cool and quirky drama, comedy, spoken word, music, cabaret and kids’ events. It’s the biggest in England don’tcha know? Plenty of good stuff on. Enjoy!


My Dad Wrote A Porno, Live, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Mon 4 June

No mine didn’t but Jamie Morton’s did and it was so bad it was good. At least, that’s what the millions who have downloaded his podcast think. Now it’s become so legendary it’s spawned it’s own stage show with Jamie and friends reading the results. They’re going on to the Albert Hall so his Dad must surely be chuffed even if his creative efforts have made it big for all the wrong reasons! Tickets are £31.65 and it has nearly sold out, I kid you not!

The Kast Off Kinks, Komedia, Brighton, Thurs 7 June

No, it’s not a tribute act but original members of massively influential band The Kinks who had a legion of hits from You Really Got Me to Waterloo Sunset, to Lola and Coming Dancing. The line-up features Mick Avory on drums, John Dalton on bass / vocals, Ian Gibbons on keyboards / vocals plus Dave Clarke ex of the Beach Boys on guitar / vocals. Tickets are £19.50.

Find more ideas here

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