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What’s on in Sussex in May

Hello May! Fill your diary with fun this month – we've got immersive art, foodie happenings, theatre, live music and more. Sussex has got it ALL going on.

ON STAGE

Whatever you’re in the mood for there is something on stage in Sussex this month from Agatha Christie to *ahem* a Meat Loaf musical. It’s nothing if not diverse!

Bat Out of Hell, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, 24-28 May

Bringing to life the legendary anthems of Meat Loaf, this critically-acclaimed production is guaranteed to have you dancing in the aisles (no you won’t do that!).

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Manor Barn, Bexhill, 8 May

Shakespeare fans will love this performance by the Bowler Crab Company containing magic, music and mayhem. Expect trick-some fairies, enchanted lovers and ass-headed ‘rude mechanicals’ (whatever than means!) .

Balletboyz Deluxe, Connaught Theatre, Worthing, 12 May

Well this looks exciting – no froth or tutus here, this energetic brand new dance show fuses ballet with original music – my goodness those suits must be stretchy!

Murder on the Orient Express, Chichester Theatre, 13 May – 4 June

Love a good thriller? Step away from the telly and see some live drama with this spectacular new staging of Agatha Christie’s masterpiece that’ll definitely have you guessing.

Interview with Jane Horrocks, Latest Music Bar, Brighton 25 May

Jane Horrocks

Bubbles! Enjoy an on-stage interview with audience Q&A with the Absolutely Fabulous actress, renowned BAFTA-nominated Jane Horrocks as part of the Space Arts Event. Sweetie darling!

COMEDY

Comedy-central this month. From newbies to household names you are guaranteed a giggle with these stand-up shows.

Russell Kane, White Rock, Hastings, 6 May & Ed Byrne, White Rock, Hastings, 18 May

Russell Kane

Two funny men coming to Hastings this month in the shape of Russell Kane & Ed Byrne stand up shows. See our interview with Ed here where he reveals that his kids are actually funnier than he is.

Alan Partridge , Brighton Centre, 8 May

A-ha! Alan Partridge

The one and the only Alan Partridge is back on stage with a show he describes as a cross between a TED talk and West Side Story. Muddy caught up with Coogan ahead of his tour, read our interview here.

An evening with Mortimer & Whitehouse, The Hawth, Crawley, 15 May

Enjoy the chance to hear the musings and poignant insights of TV faves Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse live when they invite you to join them for a chat about fishing, life, death and falling over.

Jason Manford, Assembly Hall, Worthing, 20-21 May

Jason Manford

Catch the much-loved Mancunian TV & Radio star Jason on his Like me Live tour in Worthing.

STAND UP COMEDY NIGHTS AT;

The Forge Comedy Club, Brighton, 7, 14, 28 May, Brolly Brewing Comedy Night, Horsham, 7 May, Dorset Arms, East Grinstead, 5 May & Grinstock Leonardslee, 20 May

Love quick fire comedy with lots of acts? Choose from a night in the picturesque St Mary’s Barn in Horsham, Leonardslee Gardens or at Brighton’s newest comedy venue in the Ironworks studios, all have stellar line ups of stand-up to get you giggling.

Bill Bailey, Brighton Centre, 2 & 18 May (rescheduled dates)

Bill Bailey

Wonderfully bonkers Bill is a comedian, musician, writer, author, director, presenter and keen stand-up paddle-boarder (apparently), so he’s bound to keep you amused with his banter in Brighton.

MUSIC

You’ve got every genre of music this month in Sussex from rock to classics and everything in between. Hold those lighters aloft!

ROCK & POP

Morcheeba, Chalk, Brighton, 11 May

Morcheeba @Readipop Festival

Primal Scream, White Rock, Hastings, 27 May

Gregory Porter, Brighton Centre, 14 May

Kate Nash, Chalk, Brighton, 23 May

The Script, Brighton Centre, 30 May

Corinne Bailey Rae, De La Warr, Bexhill, 3 May

Years & Years, Brighton Centre, 19 May

Bryan Adams, Brighton Centre, 13 May

Great Escape Festival, Brighton, 11-14 May

Showcasing new music with over 500 emerging artists from all over the world in 30+ walkable venues across the city and a pop-up festival site on Brighton Beach. 

CLASSICAL MUSIC EVENTS

Enjoy live music in the idyllic Leonardslee Gardens

Spring Sounds, Leonardslee Gardens, 18-29 May

Ten evenings of live music on five stages positioned in the beautiful spring woodland gardens. Offering an eclectic mix of jazz, swing, opera, classical and flamenco from some of the finest performers in the country.

At the Movies, De La Warr, Bexhill, 21 May

The International Festival Orchestra performing thrilling music from films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Red Hot Chilli Pipers, St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, 6 May

Not to be confused with the mega-star rock band the Pipers are Bagpipes with attitude, drums with a Scottish accent and a show that carries its own health warning!

FOOD & DRINK

The Gin to My Tonic Festival, Metropole Hotel, Brighton, 7 May

Enjoy over 120 craft gins and spirits from across the UK and beyond (hic!) with tasting samples in person from an array of exhibiting distillers with LIVE entertainment.

Cairovan Pop-up, Albourne Wine Estate, 20 May

Enjoy a simple but delicious range of contemporary Egyptian street food including wraps stuffed with local lamb, chicken or falafel and halloumi fries with this pop-up at the lovely wine estate.

Ridgeview Wine Garden, tours & tasting, dates from May onwards

Ridgeview, photo ©Julia Claxton

Tour the vineyard, winery and cellars followed by a tasting of Ridgeview sparkling wines whilst overlooking the picturesque South Downs.

Afternoon Tea in the Walled Garden, Cowdray, several dates

Cowdray

Nestled at the heart of the Estate and located in the grounds of one of England’s finest former Tudor houses, surrounded by polo pitches, The Walled Garden is a lovely setting to enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea.

ART & WORKSHOPS

Nib & Brush Calligraphy Workshop, Cowdray Estate, 16 May

Learn the wonderful art of calligraphy and discover the joy of this calming craft with this class run by The Modern Calligraphy Company. Learn, get feedback and explore the wonderful world of hand lettering.

Photography Workshops, Sheffield Park & Garden, 13 & 20 May

Sheffield Park & Garden

Want to up your Instagram game? Capture the garden and all it’s colours with photographer Roger Bloxham on hand to give you loads of pro tips.

Ottocento Fine Art, Petworth, opening 2 May

Alan Gouk, contemporary artist at Ottocento Gallery

A swish new gallery with a carefully curated collection of fine art paintings, prints and works on paper spanning the contemporary, early 20th century, 19th century and old master genres.

Painting Workshop, Nymans, 26, 27, 28 May

National Trust/Mark Wigmore

Artist John Thompson will help you capture some of the beauty of Nymans (above) on canvas. Whilst you are there what about these other great things to do at Nymans & Standen?

Chalk & Flint Ceramics Pottery Classes, Brighton various dates

Channel your inner Demi Moore in Ghost and get your hands mucky with a fun pottery class. Can’t promise a Patrick Swayze lookalike though.

Brighton Festival, 7-29 May

Ooh it’s all happening in Brighton! Pop-ups and visual arts, film, theatre & music at venues all over the city.

Frank Auerbach: Unseen, Newlands Gallery, Petworth, until 14 August

Newlands Gallery

Get up close to the wonderful work of Auerbach – one of the most vibrant painters of recent times.

‘Water as clear as Gin’, Gardening Workshop, Denmans, 1 May

Talk by the brilliant water designer and author, Anthony Archer-Wills who built the pond at Denmans.

Beekeeping Taster Day, The Glebe, Crawley, 7 May

Learn about our little stripy friends with this course run by the East Grinstead Beekeepers Association including hands-on experience with a colony of bees, at their apiary (weather permitting).

Seafaring, Hastings Contemporary, until September

Coast along to this event showing more than fifty works from 1820 to the present day, exploring the drama, beauty and strangeness of life at sea.

An (un) Natural History, The Towner, Eastbourne, 14 May

Towner Gallery/Visiteastbourne.com

A free event, drop-in at this stunning gallery led by artists for all ages. Explore the colour blue alongside natural and manmade objects found on the beach, repurposing and recycling them into creative pieces.

Artist Open Houses Art In Bloom, Hove, several dates during May

Have a nosey round this pop-up from a select group of artists whose work varies from textural handmade paper artworks to bronze floral sculptures shown at this house in Hove over 4 weekends.

FESTIVAL – SPECIAL OFFER

Elderflower Fields, Pippingford Park, 27-30 May

Love a family fest – this ones a good -un and Muddy readers can save £20 per adult and £10 per child on some of the last tickets with promo code MUDDY here.

For more art, music and food festivals in Sussex this summer see our guide.

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