Beacons, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Mon 2 – Wed 4 Mar
Billed as the highlight of the spring drama season at Eastbourne and fresh from a run at The Park in London, Beacons has been produced especially for the Devonshire Park and is set under the starlit South Downs. It follows the lives of Beachy Head ice-cream seller Julie, restless regular customer Bernard and 16-year-old summer girl Skye, all three of whom become unexpectedly entangled. Previous performances at Eastbourne in 2016 drew rave reviews, this production has an updated cast including Steven Pinder (the iconic Max from Brookie) and Moira Brooker (As Time Goes By) and a new team behind it. Set to be a magical local look at universal themes of friendship, human connections, and midnight ice cream, we’re welling up in anticipation.
Reigning Woman season, The Old Market, Hove, various March dates
The Old Market’s fab annual celebration of women in the arts is back, drawing kick-ass female performers of music, comedy, theatre, dance and film to Hove. It really kicks off in March and on into April with the likes of wacky hit Fringe show Witch Hunt; a performance based on breast cancer recovery interviews called Rebel Boob; comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean; campaigner and Invisible Woman author Caroline Criado Perez in conversation and films from female directors over 50. Book ahead, some events have already sold out.
World Book Day at Fisher’s Farm Park, Wisborough Green, Thu 5 Mar
Fisher’s is going storytelling crazy for World Book Day. There’ll be short storytelling sessions throughout the day in the cosy Barn Theatre, perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. After school, entry to the farm is reduced (on the door only) for adults and children and there’s the usual brilliant soft play areas (with cafe and wifi, just sayin), rides, activities, animal encounters and much more. Everybody is encouraged to dress up as their favourite character and bring their favourite book along.
World Book Day weekend, National Trust properties across Sussex, Sat 7 Mar & Sun 8 Mar
Celebrate World Book Day with your little bookworms at any one of the themed events at Sussex National Trust properties. Petworth House will welcome local authors and illustrators Jane Porter (King Otter, The Boy Who Loved Everyone) and Helen Peters (Anna At War, the Jasmine Green series). Meanwhile Bateman’s at Burwash, Bodiam Castle and Uckfield’s Sheffield Park will all host events and activities including storytelling, quizzes and a children’s trail.
Clinton Baptiste: The Paranormalist Returns! The Capitol, Horsham Sun 8 Mar
If you liked Phoenix Nights, you’ll love this. Clinton Baptiste is the comical ‘paranormalist’ from Peter Kay’s smash hit show. He’s back, 18 years later, to give readings from beyond the grave, predict the future, and analyse the past. Funny and touching Mystic Meggery.
Seafood Dinner, The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, Wed 11 Mar
The Cat Inn knows a thing or too about great food – it is even Michelin Bib Gourmand listed. So book ahead for its special four course seafood dinner coming up in March. £75.00 inclusive of wines. There will also be a Vegan Tasting menu on Wed 22 April. Menus for each will be available online from midd Feb.
Jane Eyre, Eastbourne/ Horsham/ Worthing early March dates
Gothic masterpiece Jane Eyre is back on stage in Sussex. This spring the innovative Blackeyed Theatre company will be performing the rise of the spirited orphan to adulthood and her relationship with the mysterious Mr Rochester. A good one to book ahead. Recommended for ages 11+ It’s coming up at Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne, 5 – 7 March; Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Tues 10 – Wed 11 March; Connaught Theatre, Worthing 12 – 14 March and also later at Portsmouth.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates Beethoven, The Hawth, Sat 14 Mar, Crawley
To celebrate 250 years since the birth of the orchestral genius and composer, The Hawth welcomes the RPO and multi-award winning pianist Elizabeth Sombart for a very special evening. Sombart is famed for her understanding of and connection with Beethoven’s music so this should be a beautifully spirited, joyful and passionate performance of a series of works, concluding with the lively and charming Overture to Beethoven’s Fidelio. A must for classical musos and anybody wanting to introduce children to one of the greatest composers the world has known.
Chocolate masterclasses with Noble & Stace, Fri 13 Mar, 25 Mar, various locations
Learning never tasted so good! Discover all kinds of delicious chocolatey magic including how to make ganache, pipe and hand-roll truffles and temper chocolate at these masterclasses with Muddy awards finalists Noble & Stace. Both masterclasses feature a two-course lunch and wine and will be held at the usual venue of the Artisan Bakehouse, Steyning. If you’re tempted (who wouldn’t be?!) read Muddy’s review here.
Richard Stott, Right Hand Man, Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton, Sat 14 Mar
Hull comedian Richard was born with Poland Syndrome, making him in his own words ‘lopsided with a misshapen hand and missing pectoral muscles’. Following life-changing surgery he now has toes for fingers on his left hand. This show is billed as a fast-paced romp through the taboos of being different and having to roll with the hand life dealt him. At Edinburgh Fringe, he was voted second in the top ten jokes of the entire festival. This is Richard’s debut tour and should be a moving and inspiring barrel of laughs.
Menopause the Musical 2, Cruising Through the Menopause, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, Sat 14 Mar
Is it our hormones or is it hot in here? This sounds hilarious, a sequel to the original smash-hit show and reuniting audience favourites Cheryl Fergison (EastEnders) and Rebecca Wheatley (Casualty) with new girls Nicole Barber-Lane (Hollyoaks) and Niki French (Eurovision). Join these intrepid midlifers as they hot-flush, mood-swing, memory-lapse and weight-gain their way through a journey of self-discover, love and friendship.
Restfest Women’s Wellness Festival, Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, Arundel, Sun 15 Mar
And breathe! Restfest, a one-day wellness festival, returns for 2020. From yoga flow to crafts, wellness and a pop-up sanctuary and spa, the day is designed to fill you with joy, inspiration, rest and empowerment. Muddy’s highlight will be Worthing-based yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner Anja Brierley Lange’s guided session.
Evolution, Acosta Danza, Brighton Dome, 17 & 18 Mar
International ballet star Carlos Acosta brings his Cuban dance company to Brighton after a hugely successful debut in 2017. This new programme, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, features four separate works and the fourth, Rooster, will see Acosta himself join the stage to perform a finale set to a soundtrack by none other than The Rolling Stones. Expect the vibrant Cuban culture to shine through all four pieces, which feature world-class contemporary choreography and span genres ranging from rumba to rock n roll.
Classes at The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, 17/17/24 Mar
Learn the art of baking with a March masterclass at the award-winning Artisan Bakehouse in Ashurst, near Steyning. On 17 Mar there’s a fun day of Irish baking in honour of St Patrick’s Day with internationally renowned baker and author Emmanuel Hadjiandreou who’ll help you create soda breads, potato farls and more. On 18 Mar Emmanuel will run an introduction to sourdough and slow fermentation with a chance to master this challenging but delicious type of bread. And on 24 Mar it’s Mediterranean breads, with a day-long workshop making a range of flat and hearth breads.
Historic Life Weekends, Weald & Downland Living Museum, 7/8 Mar, 21/22 Mar
A new series for 2020, the Historic Life weekends at the Weald & Downland will focus on the stories and angles behind the museum’s collections. Each will feature talks from experts, demonstrations and displays, great for kids to bring history to life. This month weekends will look at brewing (7/8 Mar) and baking (21/22 Mar) and while you’re there, check out the new working bakehouse and 17th century on-site watermill.
Millinery workshop, Fri 20 Mar, Denmans Gardens, Fontwell
Independent internationally-known milliner Isabella Josie will lead a series of millinery and hat workshops at Denmans this season. Learn how to create your own gorgeous head adornments, from hats to fascinators and decorative brooches. The workshops are all £45 and materials are included. The first, on 20 Mar, will introduce you to fascinator headbands, this season’s must-have, and you’ll make your own designer headpiece with beautiful trimmings. The perfect creative activity with friends, or even a Mother’s Day treat.
Mother’s Day weekend at Leonardslee, Horsham, 21/22 Mar
To celebrate Mothering Sunday, Leonardslee is putting on a series of floral crafts workshops. On Saturday there’s three chances to try out hand-tied floral bouquets (£50) and on Sunday, Amanda Jane Flowers will host a seasonal floral hat box workshop (£50). Mums get free entry to Leonardslee on Mother’s Day itself. And don’t forget the gorgeous afternoon tea, running from Wed Mar 18 to Sun Mar 22.
Mother’s Day Prosecco cream teas, Bateman’s at Burwash/Bodiam Castle, 21/22 Mar
Whether you’re treating your own mother or dropping heavy hints to the fam, you’ll want to check out the Prosecco cream teas at Bateman’s and Bodiam Castle for Mother’s Day weekend. Book ahead to be sure of your spot in the vintage tea rooms and work up an appetite with a walk around the grounds too.
Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea, Herstmonceux Castle, 21/22 Mar
Afternoon tea at an actual castle? Mum’s worth it – heck, you’re worth it. Another delicious-sounding offering at this stunning castle complete with 300 acres of themed gardens, woodland, parkland and fields. Expect to be dazzled by daffodils and other cheery spring blooms.
A Murder Is Announced, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Mon 23 – Sat 28 Mar
Yes, Scandi thrillers are all very dark and mysterious but oh, how we love a classic Miss Marple. In this production, the residents of Chipping Cleghorn read an advert in the local paper announcing that a murder will take place this coming Friday. At the allotted time and place, the lights go out and a gun is fired. Our intrepid heroine, played by Last of the Summer Wine star Sarah Thomas, must solve the mystery. A delightfully British whodunit.
Spring tours at Bolney Wine Estate, various dates, near Hayward’s Heath
One of England’s oldest and most beautiful vineyards, Bolney is at the heart of the award-winning Sussex wine scene, beating champagne in blind taste tests and being served in high-end restaurants and in first-class on British Airways. Spring tours kick off in March, so head along to stroll through the vineyards where eight varieties of grapes – including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – are grown, enjoy a tasting and eat in the Eighteen Acre Cafe with its stunning views.
The Sound of Music, The Hawth, Crawley, Tue 24 Mar – Sat 28 Mar
The hiiiiiiillllls are alive….who can resist The Sound of Music? Not us! The true story of the world-famous von Trapp family comes to The Hawth this month and Muddy is here. for. it. If you don’t know the plot, or the score, where have you been? BBC Over the Rainbow finalist Emilie Fleming solves the problem of Maria, and Corrie star Andrew Lancel is Captain von Trapp.
Giovanni Pernice, This Is Me, Tues 31 Mar, The Hawth, Crawley
Strictly fans will not want to miss this show from Giovanni Pernice, who has been a regular on the BBC TV hit since 2015. This is his fourth year of touring and This Is Me pays homage to the music and dances that have inspired his career. Expect ballroom, Latin and more. Tickets are £37 and Muddy cannot confirm (or deny) that the entire performance will be topless.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, 31 Mar – 5 Apr
Be still my ripping bodice! The original erotica, so saucy it was banned from publication until 1960 and even then caused such uproar and scandal that publishing house Penguin was sued for obscenity, is heavy-breathing its way onto the stage in Sussex this spring. But enough nudge-nudge wink-wink. This is a deeply important work that marked a sea change in how society views female sexuality, not to mention social class, and it remains a sensual and impassioned tale of female agency and an exploration of love with the whole self. If you’re not familiar with the tale of Constance Chatterley, her handsome but negligent husband left paralysed due to a war injury, and and her gardener Mellors, then now’s the time to find out what all the fuss was – and still is – about.