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What’s on in Sussex this August

Diaries at the ready! It's a busy August here in Sussex with heaps of theatre, comedy, music, dance, pop-up restaurants and even a scarecrow hunt. We've got your social life covered.

Enchanted Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, various dates 1 – 8 Aug

A gorgeous mini-festival set in the stunning grounds of Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, featuring an enchanted woodland trail, mythical creatures including unicorns, fairies and mermaids, market stalls, arts and crafts, food and drink, a vintage fairground, unicorn rides, circus performances and live music. The most magical way to spend an afternoon.

Shipley Scarecrow Trail, Shipley, 1-31 Aug

This summer, the residents of Shipley have created a home-made scarecrow trail through the village! Grab yourself a map from any of the local pubs sponsoring the event – The Selsey Arms in Coolham, the Countryman Inn in Shipley, the George and Dragon in Shipley and the Crown Inn in Dial Post – and see how many you can tick off. Lovely rural fun, plus a visit to a pub – hashtag perfect day out. While you’re on, King’s Mill in Shipley is worth a visit too.

South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre, until 5 Sept

It’s 1943 and US troops kick their heels on an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean as they wait for the war to arrive. Nurse Nellie falls in love with mysterious French plantation owner Emile, and scheming sailor Luther is trying to earn a quick buck – then Lieutenant Joe Cable flies in and the island’s battle for hearts and minds begins. This Pulitzer-winning classic from Rodgers and Hammerstein has become one of Broadway’s longest-running shows and comes to Chichester this summer, rescheduled from last year. Go on, wash that man right outta your hair….

Paw Patrol Trail at County Mall, Crawley, until 15 Aug

Do your little ones love Ryder, Skye, Chase and the gang? To celebrate the new Paw Patrol film, County Mall will host 22 brick models of the cast and buildings, spread around the shopping centre. Kids can take part in a trail to find all the figures including a hidden Ryder who can help them enter a competition to win some amazing prizes including family tickets to the film, dinner and a goodie bag. Perfect entertainment for the kiddos while you stock up on essentials.

The Warren On The Beach, Brighton Beach, until Aug 30

The Warren’s superb outdoor venue, just east of Brighton Pier, is back for another summer of comedy, music, live theatre, cabaret, family shows, street food and bars. From a stage adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and The Whale (above) and CBeebies faves Sarah & Duck to the infamous Krater Comedy Club, The Late Show, Notflix and Gaywatch, there’s something for everybody at this month-long celebration of summer in the city.

Glyndebourne Festival, Lewes, until Aug 29

Tristram Kenton

The flagship summer programme of world class opera rolls on into August! Tickets are still available to August showings of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte (pictured), a comedy teetering on the brink of tragedy as a group of friends unwittingly enrol in Alfonso’s ‘School for Lovers’, and to opera’s greatest love story, Wagner’s tragic Tristan und Isolde. You can also enjoy concerts from Glyndebourne’s two resident orchestras, the mighty London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Tom’s Midnight Garden: A Midsummer Ballet, Crawley, Sun 1 & Mon 2 Aug

Catch this magical summer ballet, based on Philippa Pearce’s famous children’s novel, at Crawley’s Goffs Park on Sunday and Tilgate Park on Monday. Tom has to spend the summer at his aunt and uncle’s dreary flat and is convinced his holidays are doomed. But all changes when the clock strikes 13, and a powerful and enduring friendship is found in a magical midnight garden. A beautiful and intimate production from a young and talented company.

The Labyrinth Challenge, South of England Showground, Ardingly, Thu 5 – Sun 8

Fancy a crack at a 1,000ft long inflatable obstacle course? Well, who wouldn’t?! The Labyrinth Challenge will come to Ardingly’s South of England Showground this summer. Think of it as the biggest soft play you’ve ever been to. There’ll also be a circus, funfair and plenty of inflatable attractions, including a smaller course for those under 1.2m who can’t try the main course. Under 2’s free.

Joker, Cinestock @Newhaven Fort, Fri 6 Aug

Nothing says summer like cinema under the stars. Cinestock have a range of Sussex venues showing classics and new releases this summer, kicking off at the mysterious Newhaven Fort with this dark origin story for the ultimate baddie and Batman’s nemesis, Joker. Chillingly plausible, with an incredible performance by Joaquin Phoenix, this comic-book masterpiece is set to become a modern-day blockbuster. Enjoy this showing with live music whilst the sun sets, food and drink and a great atmosphere.

‘Summer Landscapes’ Creative Watercolour Workshop, Denmans Garden, Fontwell, Fri 6 Aug

Always fancied trying your hand at a spot of watercolour painting, or looking to, ahem, brush up your skills? This workshop with Sussex artist Jo Dowers, held in the inspirational and tranquil surroundings of Denmans Garden, will help you nail that gorgeous, loose style. Suitable for all abilities.

G2: Definitive Genesis, Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, Fri 6 & Sat 7 Aug

Catch this tribute to a definitive period in the Genesis history, the four-man Seconds Out era and the earlier Gabriel years, at Trading Boundaries this weekend. This is a lovely intimate, candlelit venue with stage lighting and sound, not to mention delicious food from the restaurant. To ensure everybody’s safety, guests must have proof of full COVID vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of the performance. More info here.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Cinestock @Saltdean Lido, Sat 7 Aug

Hilarious, tender and thought-provoking, this 1994 movie starring Guy Pearce follows two drag performers and a trans woman as they travel across the desert performing cabaret. The film was a worldwide hit and commended for its positive portrayal of LGBT themes. It also inspired the Broadway musical. This showing will feature live music and food and drink, in the lovely and unique setting of Saltdean Lido.

The Lion Inside, Oaklands Park, Chichester, Mon 9 Aug

A lovely outdoor performance based on the award-winning book by Rachel Bright and Jim Field, suitable for littlies aged three and up. Mouse is fed up of being ignored by all the other creatures and wishes he could roar like Lion. But as he discovers, even the smallest of us can have the hearts of a lion.

The Secret Garden, The Hawth Amphitheatre, Crawley, Tue 10 Aug and Brighton Open Air Theatre, Sun 29 Aug

This outdoor adaptation of the famous tale, in which orphaned Mary Lennox discovers friendship, fun and laughter at her uncle’s country estate on the Yorkshire Moors, has folk music woven through it and promises to be magical.

The Twits, Brighton Open Air Theatre, Wed 11 – Sat 14 Aug

Meet Mr and Mrs Twit, the most vile, despicable, smelly and revolting couple imaginable, and discover if the brave Roly-Poly bird and clever Muggle-Wump monkeys can stop their ghastly plans – and them – in their tracks! Roald Dahl’s classic is evergreen, as are the laughs, and a circus-style setting brings slapstick family fun to BOAT.

Mr Stink, Borde Hill Garden, 13 August

Everybody’s welcome to celebrate Annabelle’s 10th birthday party – other than Chloe’s whiffy new friend, Mr Stink. David Walliams’ bestseller, about an extraordinary and rewarding friendship between 12-year-old Chloe and a homeless man, will be performed in a wonderful outdoor setting at Borde Hill Garden. Humorous and heart-warming.

Ds:uK, Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, Fri 13 & Sat 14 Aug

Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free! Er, excuse us, we’re Dire Straits fans here at Muddy. This superb tribute band will have you on your feet doing the Walk of Life (or Walk on By as my friend’s dad always called it) with a barnstorming performance at Trading Boundaries. Covid guidelines apply.

Dirty Dancing, Cinestock @Leonardslee Lakes & Garden, Sat 14

Nobody puts Baby in the corner! Fall in love all over again with this romantic, sexy coming-of-age classic and be awestruck by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey’s incredible moves. Oooh, we’re misting over just thinking about it. This outdoor showing at the beautiful Grade I listed Leonardslee Lakes & Garden will include live music as the sun sets, and food and drink. Take the other half, the teens or the girls, and get ready to have the time of your life.

Medieval Weekend, Arundel Castle, 14-15 Aug

Avast, fair maiden! Turn back the clock for this weekend of festivities – revels, perchance – from the bygone days of yore, at the stunning setting of Arundel Castle. Birds of prey, sword-fighting, music, food, archery and much more. Perfect for all ages, with plenty to do and a sensational castle backdrop.

Cookery Masterclasses, Wild Swimming and Pop-Up Restaurant Night with Michelin Starred Chef, Knepp Estate, Tue 17 & Wed 18 Aug

The stunning Knepp Estate in Dial Post provides the background for a series of workshops from Positively Delicious, run by Michelin-starred, Cordon Bleu chef Jacqueline Wise, formerly of Buckingham Palace. Choose from Connection through Cookery, Pasta Making, Cocktails, Meditation and Wild Swimming on Tues or Venison Butchery, Cookery and Wine Tasting with Wild Swimming on Wednesday. Both events will involve learning hands-on skills from professionals, cooking over an open fire, sharing meals with fellow foodies, and a range of nourishing activities including wild swimming in Knepp’s gorgeous pond. Alternatively, if you just fancy turning up, tucking in and making new friends, book the Pop Up Restaurant Night held in Knepp’s cosy Cow Barn.

Grinstock Kids Comedy Club, Leonardslee Lakes & Garden, Horsham, 18 & 25 August

Get ready for giggles galore at these live comedy shows, featuring some of the best comedians and entertainers in the country. Expect music, magic and heaps of belly laughs from performers including Ben Van Der Velde, billed as ‘an accomplished comic’ by Time Out and magician and Britain’s Got Talent star El Baldiniho. Tickets include full-day entry to Leonardslee.

Hexwood School of Sorcery, The Capitol, Horsham, 19 – 22 August

Maisey Hexwood was born into a family of gifted witches and wizards. Now it’s time for her to follow in their footsteps and study sorcery. There’s just one problem – she’s terrible at magic! Will she ever be able to embrace all her mishaps and love herself, warts and all? Laughs galore, fab music and warm fuzzy feelgoods guaranteed at this family-oriented performance. Suitable for ages 4+.

Rocketman, Cinestock @Preston Manor, Brighton, 20 Aug and Cinestock @Leonardslee Lakes and Garden, Lower Beeding, 29 Aug

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time…..before you watch a biopic with a soundtrack like Rocketman, the one and only Elton John’s epic musical story. Sing along to all your favourite hits, and get ready for a rollercoaster of highs and lows. And the icing on the cake is the locations. Preston Manor, on the edge of pretty Preston Park, a gorgeous setting for outdoor cinema, as is the sensational Grade I listed garden at Leonardslee, complete with resident wallabies. Live music and food and drink also feature – the ultimate summer evening out.

Star Wars: A New Hope, Cinestock @Saltdean Lido, Brighton, 21 Aug

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away – OK so hopefully you know the rest, but no matter how many times you’ve seen it, the first, the original and arguably the best Star Wars is always a joy. Take the fam along to catch it on the outdoor big screen at the gorgeous Saltdean Lido. As with all Cinestock showings, expect live music as the sun sets, and plenty of food and drink.

Pop Princesses, The Capitol, Horsham, 27 Aug

If you’ve got a tweenager who loves pop, book them in for the afternoon of their dreams at The Capitol. Four fabulous fairy-tale princesses just love to sing, and they’ll be belting out your – sorry, your child’s – entire playlist, from Little Mix and Ariana Grande to Taylor Swift and internet sensation JoJo Siwa. We absolutely defy you not to sing along.

Jumanji: The Next Level, Cinestock @Newhaven Fort, 27 Aug

Open-air cinema, the social and cultural highlight of summer 2020, is here to stay! Catch this family-friendly caper, sequel to the much-loved Jumanji. the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. Newhaven Fort is a glorious setting, perfect for exploring before the film kicks off.

Tubular Bells Live, Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, Fri 27 – Sun 29 Aug

Who doesn’t love a bit of Mike Oldfield? This unique show will get you as close as is humanly possible to the highlights of the great man’s 50-year career, performed by internationally renowned Tubular Bells maestro Phil Toms and his 13-strong band. Expect it to be epic. Covid policy applies.

The Bonfire Society Firework Festival, South of England Showground, Ardingly, 28 August

Fireworks displays Sussex 2019, What's On in Sussex in November, What's On in Sussex, Things to do in Sussex

Possibly a tad early for a bonfire and firework display but hey, we didn’t get them last November so instead the Bonfire Society will hold its annual championships at the South of England Showground this August. Live music, a food village and fun for all the family.


Educating Rita, The Capitol, Horsham, 7-11 September

©Nobby Clark

We can’t wait for this production of the great British comedy by Willy Russell. Married hairdresser Rita, played by Jessica Johnson, enrols on a university course to expand her horizons. Tutor Frank (Stephen Tompkinson, of Ballykissangel fame) is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and legendary boozer. Somehow, the two have a great deal to teach one another. Channel those back to school vibes by catching it at the Capitol this September. Hilarious and heart-warming, Educating Rita won an Olivier award for it’s West End production by the RSC, and was also made into a film starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine.

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