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What’s On this week in Sussex

Mon 3 Feb - Sun 9 Feb

Wellness Trail,  Nymans, near Haywards Heath, Sat 1 Feb onwards

In our increasingly busy and connected lives, it’s more important than ever to take time out to just be in the moment with nature. From now into spring National Trust site Nymans has signposts around the garden with inspiring words in suitable places for reflection. You can also join guided ‘forest bathing’ wellness walks. It’s part of a focus on wellbeing this year to tie in with the ongoing exhibition of Quentin Blake drawings as the artist also works with hospitals.

Westerns Film Season, Depot, Lewes, Sundays, 2 Feb – 9 March 

Yee hah, it’s a screening of seven classic Westerns alongside an optional six week course (£60) covering the silent movie era up to present day. Films (£8 for adult non members) start with High Noon and The Searchers on Sun 2 Feb then on subsequent Sundays take in Rio Bravo, The Winning of Barbara Worth, The Wild Bunch and Unforgiven. The season concludes with No Country for Old Men on Mon 9 March.

Winter Afternoon Racing at Fontwell Park, Mon 3 Feb and Thurs 13 Feb

Inject a bit of excitement into the winter months with some afternoon racing. There are seven races running around the Fontwell figure of eight track, which allows a view of the action all the way through. There’s also the national Sprint Hurdle coming up n Sun 23 Feb.

Blood Brothers, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Tues 4 Feb – Sat 8 Feb

Willy Russell (also of Shirley Valentine fame) penned this tragi-comic tale which follows twins separated at birth and living very different lives. It ran for years in the West End and is now on tour. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get some serious ear-worms. Tickets are from £13.00.

Zog, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 6  – Sat 8 Feb

Based on the book written and illustrated by the kiddy lit masterminds behind The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Zog is the story of an eager to please dragon, bound to win the hearts of the littlies. Adult tickets are £15.50. It’s also coming up at Brighton Dome 19 – 21 Feb.

Josie Long: Tender,  The Hawth, Crawley / Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, Wed 5 Feb /  Feb Sat 22 Feb 

Photo by Giles Smith

A confident, very likeable comedian, Josie Long has been around a while but this is her first new show in five years. It’s a tale of new motherhood that in the wrong hands could be a self-indulgent yawn-fest, as she’s well aware (“I believe I may be the only woman this has ever happened to…”) but she does a cracking set which veers through trying to urgently get an expensive chicken cooked while in labour to her concerns about climate change. I saw it at Edinburgh Fringe last year and it was a hugely enjoyable show. It’s at Crawley on 5 Feb (£18) and Worthing on 22 Feb (£15.50).

A Monster Calls, Chichester Festival Theatre, Thurs 6 – Sat 15 Feb

Manuel Harlan

Conor, 13, is woken by something at his window one night; a monster has come walking. Patrick Ness’s bestseller, which sensitively explores themes of grief, bereavement, family and truth, is brought to life in an Olivier Award-winning production which begins a nationwide tour in Chichester. Suitable for age 10+. £10-£28

South Downs Dark Skies festival, various locations, 7 – 23 Feb

Wrap up warm and get out for this annual celebration of the South Downs being designated a dark sky site. There are several guided stargazing events and tie-in activities, many of them free or low cost at locations in West Sussex, East Sussex and Hampshire.

BRINK, Towner Eastbourne, until 10 May

Caroline Lucas – Green MP, cultural advocate and environmental campaigner, has created an  exhibition for the Towner which, unsurprisingly, has a theme of the natural world and its threats. She has chosen works by Jonathan Monk, Tirzah Garwood, Tania Kovats, David Jones, Clare Richardson, Wolfgang Tillmans and David Nash, among others. You can currently also catch some early works by David Hockney at the gallery.

Various workshops, The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst near Steyning, Wed 29 Jan and later dates

There’s just one place left for gluten-free breadmaking on 29 Jan (£135) at The Artisan Bakehouse. Other tasty small group workshops coming up include introductions to breadmaking and sourdough and Glorious Grains (Feb), Irish baking (March), Easter baking, pastry making and chocolate making (April).



Worthing Ice Rink , Steyne Gardens, Worthing, until 23 Feb 

ice rinks in Sussex, skatingin Sussex, pop-up rinks in Sussex

Worthing’s rink is in a giant marque with regular sessions for over-fours, while toddlers can get on the ice in special quieter weekday slots. There are children’s skating courses and private lessons by arrangement. You can warm up with hot drinks and snacks in the café and even use the venue to host a children’s party.

National Trust snowdrop spots, Nymans, Sheffield Park and Petworth, Jan & Feb 

Image National Trust, Meghan Doran

In January and February we rely on plucky snowdrops to cheer up the winter landscape. Nymans, Sheffield Park and Petworth are among the best spots to catch them.

ROH Live Coppélia, various cinemas, various dates until 21 April

This classic story of love, mischief and mechanical dolls returns and is being screened from the Royal Ballet on various dates. Use the search bar in the link to find the nearest screening to you for this and other shows.

A Strange and Familiar Sea, Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, 18 January – 23 May

In this free exhibition photographer Mandy Williams brings together work from three series about the sea. Sea Level and Frame were shot in Worthing, where Williams lived as a teenager. Sea Level focuses on the beach shelters along the promenade and Frame captures people as they walk by them. In Beyond Land, the photographs were taken at a causeway that reveals itself at low tide.

One day courses, West Dean College, near Chichester, various dates 10 Jan onwards

Among the many arts and craft courses from short to full-time at West Dean College are numerous one day workshops for beginners and improvers. For the wannabe Charlie Dimmocks (remember her?) there’s gardening, pruning and botanical drawing, while crafters can try their hand at silversmithing and woodturning. Most cost under £150 and there are many more throughout spring. As a bonus, the college is set within the lovely West Dean Gardens.



Dinner & Jazz, Wingrove House, Alfriston, Fri 14 Feb

Be a smoothy this V-Day and book a four-course dinner with music from a background jazz band (nice…) at Wingrove House in Alfriston. Mains include a choice of pollock, duck, lamb or ratatouille tart, all with rather lovely sounding accompaniments. I’ve also got my eyes on the pecan cheesecake for afters. £45 per person.

Rufus Wainwright with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, White Rock Theatre, Hastings, Fri 28 Feb

Highly acclaimed pop singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright stars with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Feb as part of Hastings International Piano Festival.

The Addams Family, The Old Market, Hove, Tues 18 – Sun 23 Feb 

Looks who’s moved into the neighbourhood! From the writers of multi award-winning Jersey Boys, and performed by BTG Youth, this comic musical adaptation of everyone’s favourite Gothic family will feature a live orchestra.

Vegan Feast Cookery Workshop, Brooklands Barn, Arundel, Tues 11 Feb

Already vegan, or on your new year resolution list? On this special demo cookery day ay Brooklands Barn Retreat, Toni, creator of will show you how to make family vegan staples including nut roast with homemade gravy, easy lasagne and scrummy chocolate brownies.

In Loyal Company, Connaught Studio, Worthing, Thurs 13 Feb

I saw this wonderful show at Edinburgh Fringe last year where it sold out. David William Bryan is an acting tour de force, throwing himself (quite literally a lot of the time) into the role of his great uncle – a WWII soldier and prisoner of war – plus a host of other characters along the way. It’s a highly physical performance leaving poor Bryan drenched in sweat and with a standing ovation for his efforts. A bittersweet true-life story that will make you laugh and cry. Tickets from £14. Ages 8+

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