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What’s On this week in Sussex

Thurs 9 - Fri 17 May

The Great Escape, various venues, Brighton, Thurs 9 – Sat 11 May

This is the weekend when the music industry decamps to Brighton to see up-and-coming acts. Over the years many that have played the festival have gone on to become household names, including Adele, Kasabian, Mumford & Sons, Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, Rizzle Kicks, and George Ezra. Three-day tickets for multitude performances are £75, but there are other one off options plus free shows in the streets (check out the square beside the library). It’s a must for music fans with the bonus that you fall out of venues close to restaurants rather than into a traditional festival mudbath. Also catch the coverage on BBC 6 Music.

Jim Tavaré: From Deadpan to Bedpan, The Capitol, Horsham Fri 10 May / The Hawth Crawley, Mon 13 May 

In 2017 comedian, BAFTA award winner, Harry Potter actor and double bassist Jim Tavaré was involved in a near fatal car crash collision in LA. He lived to tell the tale and is bringing it to the stage, drawing shock and humour from his tale of 30 broken bones, collapsed lungs and sky high US medical bills. The show won the Spirit of the Fringe Award in Edinburgh last year. Catch it in the studio at Horsham’s Capitol Theatre on Fri 10 May, or at Crawley’s The Hawth studio on Mon 13. It’s also coming to Brighton Fringe at the end of the month.

Flint Barns Wine Club, Rathfinny Estate, Alfriston, Thurs 16 May 

Following the success of the first on Valentine’s Day, May see the return of the Flint Barns Wine Club.  You’ll be guided through a four-course menu, each course paired with a different wine – a good opportunity to try the estate’s newly released Sussex Sparkling.  Tables are communal and tickets are £65. Fancy staying over? Call off the taxi and enjoy 10% off a Flint Barns bedroom when you book the Wine Club.

Polish food +Film, Depot, Lewes, Wed 15 May

What's On in Sussex this week

Depot in Lewes has a Polish supperclub this month. There’s a chance to taste the country’s cuisine with pierogi and more prepared by Polish chef Marcin Nowak, then see a screening of political thriller The Last Witness. Based on the true story of the Katyn Masscare, The film is set in post WWII England, where ambitious journalist Stephen Underwood discovers a disturbing spate of suicides by Polish soldiers. After the screening there’s a Q&A with BAFTA-nominated director Piotr Szkopiak. The meal is £15, the film is at regular ticket prices, and you could do either separately.

Nordic Fringe Season, The Old Market, Hove, Mon 13 – Sat 18 May

2100: A Space Novelty

The Old Market has plenty of shows as part of the wider Brighton Fringe but here’s a special week from our friends in the North. There’s Daddy Issues – a comedy performance from Sweden about women who date older men; an Icelandic man’s experiences of online date having last been single decades before in I Wouldn’t Date Me Either; Reykjavik burlesque in Ladies and Gentlemen; a Norwegian homage to intergalactic adventures in 2100: A Space Novelty and much more.

The Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair, Fri 10 – Sun 12 May

Clare Trenchard Wolves at Petworth, HD Flying Colours Gallery

In the lovely setting of Petworth Park browse a tempting selection of fine period furniture, oil and watercolour paintings, clocks, vintage watches, jewellery, sculpture, silver, lighting, ceramics, glass, enamels, prints, 20th century design and more. Tickets are £10.

Onstage dating, Komedia studio, Brighton, Thurs 16 – Sun 19 May

Enjoy First Dates on TV? Here’s a chance to see some live. In one of the stranger shows at this year’s Brighton Fringe (and a multiple award winner at other Fringes), Bron Batten will have a series of dates live on stage as you watch romance or a cringe-fest unfold before your eyes. Not sure where the chicken fits in but I’ve seen pics of a sofa, wine and Twister… Ages 14+ (under 16s accompanied), tickets £8-10.

Introduction to Wine Education, The Highdown, Goring-by-Sea, Thurs 16 May

Want to be more than a bluffer when it comes to wine? The Highdown at Goring-by-Sea is holding an Introduction to Wine Education on the evening of Thurs 16 May. You’ll be talked through the basics including grape varieties and different countries of origin and there will be plenty of nibbles to go with the wine. Tickets are £15 per person. Reserve a place by calling 01903 924670.

Dr John Cooper Clarke, The Luckiest Guy Alive, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Thurs 16 May

The most famous performance poet of them all, John Cooper Clarke is still packing out big venues and The Luckiest Guy Alive is his first new collection of work out in over 30 years (we’ve been listening to the audio version in the car and it’s a cracker). Sure he’ll do his greatest hits like the ultra-sweary Chickentown too. Tickets £28.50.

Bognor Regis Big Sleep Out, Sat 11 May

To mark Stonepillow’s 30th anniversary, the Big Sleep Out is coming to Bognor Regis for the very first time. Swap your bed for a cardboard shelter for just one night, and get sponsored to sleep out, so others don’t have to. The challenge raises funds and awareness of homelessness charity Stonepillow’s work across West Sussex. Tickets are £12. Register now. There’s a similar event at Brighton Open Air Theatre in September to support the Clock Tower Sanctuary.

Best of the Fest, Women Over 50 Film Festival, The Towner, Eastboune, Sat 11 May 

The Towner gallery’s Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) celebrates older women on both sides of the camera. On 11 May a Best of the Fest programme (£8.50) mixes documentary, animation, drama and experimental short films and on the same day there’s a free accompanying workshop – How to Make a Film on Your iPhone – led by BBC journalism trainer Deirdre Mulcahy. 

Meet the Artist: Pure Evil and Ben Eine, plus dinner, Artist Residence, Brighton, Thurs 16 May

Street Art vs Fine Art is the theme of an intimate panel talk with the artists Ben Eine & Charlie (aka Pure Evil of dripping eye portrait fame), taking place at boutique Brighton hotel Artist Residence. They will be discussing the influences they’ve both had on their work and debating their places within society. Join the talk then tuck into a four-course tasting menu from on site restaurant The Set. £75.

Charleston Festival, Firle, Fri 17 – Mon 27 May

This 17 – 27 May sees the 30th Charleston Festival. It’s been on sale since late Feb but there are still some hot tickets left, including a debate on whether literature is moral or immoral, featuring Lionel Shriver of We Need to Talk About Kevin fame; Insiders/Outsiders considering the contribution of refugees from Nazi Europe to British culture; and a talk about protest in popular culture from Tate director Maria Balshaw and Emmaline Pankhurst sculptor Hazel Reev.

Museums at Night, Weald & Downland Museum, Singleton nr Chichester, Fri 17 & Sat 18 May

Weald & Downland is taking part in Museums at Night with an atmospheric of a guided walk.
Follow the lamplight tour to different spaces around the museum, to hear a series of night-time stories on the theme of poaching featuring characters from history. At the end of the evening gather around an open fire for a hot drink and biscuits. Pre-booking essential, tickets are £25. 16+ and not for those easily scared. The evenings run from 9pm for around two hours.

Best of British Gin Festival, New Inn, Hurstpierpoint, Sat 18 May

gin G&T

Muddy Award-wining wine merchants South Downs Cellars have a Best of British Gin Festival happening at the New Inn in Hurstpierpoint with over 30 of the best gins the UK has to offer, presented by the very people that make them. You pay for entry then buy tokens to taste… well perhaps not all 30 but the ones that catch your eye. Get your designated driver sorted pronto!

Philip Clemo: Dream Maps Live, The Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea, Fri 17 May

Philip Clemo’s Dream Maps Live brings together musicians, who have worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Goldfrapp, Hugh Masekela, Brian Eno and George Michael and teams them with visual projections from Clemo’s ground-breaking Breath Project, featured at the V & A Museum and The Eden Project. Looks all very chilled and inspiring.


Brighton Festival, Sat 4- Sun 26 May/ Brighton Fringe, Fri 3 May – Sun 2 June

The Warren at Brighton Fringe

The largest multi-arts festival in England, the Brighton Festival hosts a strong programme of art, theatre, dance, music, literature and family shows. Running alongside the Festival of course is the Fringe with hundreds of cool and quirky drama, comedy, spoken word, music, cabaret and kids’ events throughout the month. It’s also the biggest in England don’tcha know? Plenty of good stuff on, we’ve tickets stuck on the fridge already in Chez Muddy. Enjoy!

Shadowlands, Chichester Festival Theatre, Fri 26 April – Sat 25 May

Hugh Bonneville plays the author C.S. Lewis of Narnia fame alongside Liz White as Joy Gresham, in this new production of heartbreaking romance Shadowlands at Chichester Festival Theatre. Keep an eye out for the Muddy review. Tickets are from £10.

Artists’ Open Houses, Brighton, Hove, Rottingdean and Ditchling, weekends Sat 4 – Sun 26 May

Buy art direct from the makers, often at nicely affordable prices during this big celebration of Sussex’s creators. It’s the largest event of its kind in the UK with around 200,000 visiting. You also get to snoop around some lovely houses!


Arlington bluebell walk and farm trail, near Polegate, until 9 May (and other bluebell locations) 

Best bluebell walks in Sussex

The most famous of Sussex bluebell spots is the Arlington walk that has been around since 1972 and now incorporates seven trails over three farms, one of the routes wheelchair accessible. It’s open every day 10.00 to 17.00 until Sun 9 May. The website gives you ‘status updates’ of how the flowers are doing. 23 charities are involved providing refreshments. There’s also the opportunity to watch cows being milked from a viewing gallery at Parkwood Farm in the afternoons. For other bluebell locations see also our round-up feature on the best bluebell spots in Sussex with places to eat and drink nearby.


Mothers Ruin, A Cabaret about Gin, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, Fri 31 May & Sat 1 June

More gin, this time with a comic show attached! A raucous musical journey through 18th century London, a few New York speakeasies, the Australian bush and the jungles of Peru to discover a little more about our favourite drop. This sold out well in advance last time it was in town, so bag a ticket now. Tickets are from £16.50 and you get a free G&T!

Pastry, chocolate and macron making, The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, Tues 21, Wed 22 and Fri 31 May

There are some tasty treat-making workshops coming up for May at the Artisan Bakehouse. On 21 May is a Sweet and Savoury  Pastry Making class. and, ooh la la, learn how to make melt in the mouth French Macrons on 31 May. Then, Noble & Stace experts are dropping in to lead an Artisan Chocolate Making masterclass which has sold out for May and June but there are still places for July. Each class has a handful of places so get your teeth into booking. Courses cost £115-£150 which includes lunch and your treats to take home.

Sussex Street Food Festival, The Stade, Hastings, Sat 25 – Mon 27 May

Hastings will host the Sussex Street Food Festival over the second May bank holiday weekend. Some of the best foodie treats from across the world from arancini balls to doughy churros to jerk chicken, Vietnamese food and more will be available from a wide range of stalls on the Stade. Register now for a free ticket to guarantee entry at peak times and you’ll be entered in a prize draw to win a meal and cocktail each for four people.

Big Bank Holiday Family Fun Day, Fontwell Park Racecourse, Sun 26 May

One the most popular event days in the calendar at Fontwell happens on the late May bank holiday. The Family Fun Day sees free entertainment for all including inflatable fun with an assault course, mini horse racing, a bouncy castle and laser quest, pony rides for kids, circus performances and a funfair. Bring a picnic and watch seven exciting horse races. Book in advance to save £5 off the adult price. Under 18s go free.

Shift, The Old Market, Hove, 28 May – 2 June

The Barely Methodical Troupe are returning to The Old Market with their latest show, Shift. The contemporary circus outfit have been creating a storm over the last five years with their shows Bromance and Kin (Muddy saw the latter and it was great!) so this looks like a must see. Tickets are £12.

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