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What’s On in Sussex 30 Nov – 8 Dec

What's On in Sussex 30 Nov - 8 Dec

Art and Christmas fairs, lights shows, big screen ballet, pub comedy, panto and more, all in the latest What’s On in Sussex. For things to book ahead also see my full Sussex Xmas shows round-up here.

Hastings Illustration Festival, The Printworks, Hastings, Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec.

If you’ve any interest in illustration for work or pleasure get down to ‘Hifest’ this weekend for stalls, talks, workshops, live drawings and screenings. Make coffee cup characters, or a screen print ‘T’ shirt or canvas, or get your portrait inked. There will be plenty of gifts to buy too such as books, badges and ceramics. Access to all events is via a pass (£5 for adults, £4 for students, free for under 16s).

Aladdin, Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Fri 8 Dec – Wed 3 Jan

One of the first pantos out of the blocks this year. Former EastEnders heartthrob Michael Greco was twice voted sexiest man in soap and you can oggle him the flesh while your kids get on with the serious business of booing and cheering at Aladdin at the Assembly Hall Theatre. Greco plays Abanazar alongside Britain’s Got Talent‘s woman of many voices Jess Robinson as the slave of the ring, while Aladdin himself is CBBC presenter Mark Rhodes. We’re promised a traditional show with plenty of audience participation (come on, you know you secretly love it!).

Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker, live at various cinemas, Tues 5 Dec and later encore screenings 

ROH, 2015. Photographed by Tristram Kenton

Get Christmassy and cultured at the same time with a live screening of the Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at various Sussex cinemas on Tues 5 Dec.  There are also encore screenings at later dates – at the Connaught Cinema, Worthing that Boxing Day feeling that you should move from the settee but you can’t be bothered to raise yourself is neatly solved by booking their repeat screening then. Use the postcode search on the website to find your nearest participating cinema. Some are also screening The Winter’s Tale in February.

Farmers and Makers’ Fair, Architectural Plants, Pulborough, Sat 2 Dec

Christmas fairs are starting to pop-up to help you get more original and locally-produced gifts. Garden centre extraordinaire Architectural Plants is hosting a festive Farmers and Makers’ Fair this weekend focusing on items for home and garden (and stomach) with Sussex and regional produce from the likes of breweries, distilleries, farmers, co-operatives, potters, artists, metal and wood workers, seamstresses, chocolatiers, knitters, jewellers and more. It runs 9.00am – 5.00pm with free entry and parking.

Neon Noel at Little Chelsea, Eastbourne, weekends from Fri 1 Dec

It may not be rivalling Vegas anytime soon but it’s likely to charm the kids. A four minute light, visual and audio show will be projected onto Eastbourne’s Town Hall clock tower every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 17 Dec at 4.30pm, 5.30pm and 6.30pm (check the website). It all kicks of during Little Christmas in Little Chelsea on 1 Dec, which features music, street entertainment, stalls, late night shopping and – aww – real reindeers.

Komedy Krackers, Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton, Wed 29 Nov, Wed 28 Dec & Wed 31 Jan. 

I’ve enjoyed John Pendall’s comedy musings up at Edinburgh Fringe the last couple of years. The S&M enthusiast and amateur escapologist holds up pictures of his kittens if he thinks his ‘vanilla’ audience may be getting flustered! He’s one of the comics coming up up the sticky stairs of Brighton’s Caroline of Brunswick pub, which often puts on bargain comedy nights. Komedy Krackers is actually free, but of course you’ll be expected to buy a drink, and make a donation if someone’s shaking a bucket. It’s coming up again on Wed 28 Dec if you can pull yourself out of your turkey coma, and on January 31. 

Arundel by Candlelight, Arundel town centre, Sat Dec 2

On Dec 2 in historical Arundel, shops, restaurants, pubs and homes will be decorated with Christmas trees with simple white lights, there’ll be a lantern parade and a Christmas Market with gifts and seasonal treats. Don’t get too trollied on mulled wine or you’ll miss out on the vintage fair rides. A rock choir, panto, face painting and the like add to the family fun.

Rosie Swale Pope MBE, Cameron Contemporary Art, Hove, Tues 5 Dec

Now here’s an event to leave your fitness regime feeling pretty inadequate. Rosie Swale Pope MBE is the only person in history to have made an epic solo, unsupported run around the world, facing Siberian winters, wolves, desperate loneliness and axe men while raising £250,000 for charity. Oh and she’s also run 27 marathons in 27 days. Her book, Just a Little Run Around the World is an international best-seller. Now she’s in Hove to talk about it all. Someone give the poor woman a seat! Admission’s free but there’s a suggested £10 donation to local homelessness charities Off the Fence and The Clocktower and you’ll get a glass of wine and a mince pie. Pre-booking is recommended.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Fri 8 Dec – Sat 7 Jan / The Nutcracker, 21- 23 Dec, The Hawth, Crawley 

I really rated Michael J Batchelor as the dame at the Hawth last Chrimbo and the good news is he’s back in this year’s panto. Stephen Mulhern from TV’s Catchphrase and Saturday Night Takeaway also stars. Tickets are from £17 and it’s selling fast. The Hawth is also hosting Swan Lake performed by the Russian State Ballet on 30 Nov and afternoon performances of The Nutcracker by Let’s All Dance Thurs 21 – Sat 23 Dec. See my full Sussex Xmas shows round-up here.

Pinocchio, National Theatre, London, from 1 Dec

After a Christmas show with the kids in London? This looks fantastic – and would I lie to you? (Geddit?) This spanking new production of Pinocchio has music and songs from the Disney film, is overseen by John Tiffany, the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and penned by Dennis Kelly, the writer of Matilda the Musical. Previews from 1 December and half-price tickets for under-18s are available for all performances. Get thee to the train station pronto.

East Grinstead Comedy Christmas Gala, Chequer Mead, Fri 8 Dec

James Acaster is one of the comedians I really rate – super clever and whimsical. His Edinburgh Fringe shows always sell out early but you can catch him right here in Sussex if you’re quick as there are just a few tickets left for the East Grinstead Comedy Christmas Gala where he’ll be appearing with Lloyd Griffith. Tickets are from £14 but a word of warning, if you go with someone you won’t be sitting together at this stage.

Jon Richardson: The Old Man, White Rock Theatre, Hastings, Wed 6 Dec  

Another opportunity to grab a few laughs. The cardigan-wearing comedian who’s appeared on Live At The Apollo and 8 Out Of 10 Cats is embarking on a nationwide tour to ‘complain about the state of the world and offer no solutions’.  It’s down to the last few clusters of tickets so bag some quick if you’re a fan.

Victorian Country House Christmas Party, Uppark 2 – 31 Dec (except 24 & 25 Dec)

NT photo by Nadia Mackenzie

Go back in time at Uppark this December by dropping in on the aftermath of a Victorian Country House Christmas Party hosted by Lady Featherstonhaugh. Peek at the excesses in the dining room then below stairs discover how servants celebrated in the Victorian era. In the week see intricately detailed paper mannequin servants created by artist Denise Watson of Delicarta. At weekends there’ll be real servants to greet you. Meanwhile a new outdoor family trail (£2 per child) helps kids make fun discoveries about Victorian festive foods and traditions.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Fri 1 Dec – Mon 1 Jan, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing 

Starting this weekend, The one and only Chesney Hawkes will be playing the dashing prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Worthing while Jo Brand will be lending her sarcastic tones as the voice of the mirror. X Factor finalist Niki Evans will be singing her heart out while dishing out poison apples as the wicked queen while comic bumbling comes courtesy of CBeebies’ Swashbuckle duo Joseph Elliott and Richard David-Caine. Tickets are from £12.50. See my full Sussex Xmas shows round-up here.

Showstoppers, the improvised musical Eastbourne Hippodrome, Sat 2 Dec 

On 2 Dec fringe favourite Showstoppers – the improvised musical  is dropping in to Eastbourne to weave comedy magic from audience suggestions. There’s a kids’ version at 3.00pm (£11 upwards) and an adult one at 8.00pm (£16 up).

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