Events and things to do in Sussex - May 2014

Editor's pick

Editor's pick - Credit: Archant

A whole host of May events from all corners of Sussex

Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival - Credit: Archant

Editor’s pick

17 May-25 August - Celebrate 80 years of glorious Glyndebourne

This year will see Glyndebourne Festival celebrate 80 years as one of Europe’s most beloved cultural attractions. The 2014 Festival includes three new productions: Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Verdi’s La Traviata and revivals of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Handel’s Rinaldo.

Tickets cost between £10 and £250. For more information and booking tel: 01273 813813 or visit


3-25 May - Brighton Festival 2014

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The critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter is at the helm as Guest Director for this year’s Brighton Festival.

Over the three-week Festival many of Hofesh Shechter’s interests and passions will be explored in a wide-ranging programme which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists.

With Hofesh Shechter as Guest Director, this year’s programme is particularly genre defying - from the UK premiere of Opus No.7 from Russian theatre director Dmitry Krymov, to William Forsythe’s hypnotic Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No.2, to a new co-commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE; called The British Library. 2014 also heralds the return of international theatre companies Berlin and Vanishing Point to Brighton and there will be an eclectic mix of names across contemporary music from Peaches to Emmylou Harris. Hofesh challenges us to respond to the world’s ugly injustices in Brighton Festival co-commission Sun which “comes home” to Brighton after touring globally, whilst one of his inspirations - and fellow choreographers - Wim Vandekeybus, interrogates the misuse of power and the abuse of social media as Brighton Festival hosts the UK premiere of Ultima Vez’s Talk to the Demon.

As ever Brighton Festival kicks off with the Children’s Parade - the largest event of its kind in Europe - produced by Same Sky. Events for all the family this year include a UK premiere of Tanzfuchs Produktion’s dance extravaganza Munch! for the under 4s and the UK premiere of Zoo, Belgian choreographer Thomas Hauert’s first piece for young people which is accompanied by a prepared piano soundtrack by John Cage. Meanwhile, on film the Cinema of Childhood - curated by Mark Cousins - looks at the depiction of children in cinema, is suitable for the whole family to enjoy together.

This year’s Brighton Festival holds in store 448 performances and 147 events in 34 venues across the city. In total there will be 37 premieres, exclusives and co-commissions and 26 free events.

Ticket Office: 01273 709709


Twitter: @brightfest


Brighton Fringe - 3 May - 1 June

Returning for this year is the Spiegeltent at the Old Steine with a larger number of shows of different genres from spoken word to music, and a Victorian-style bathing machine is returning to New Road with a new one-on-one relay play Host written by Tim Crouch for The Nightingale theatre. There will also be the return of Tight Modern on the seafront: a miniature replica of the iconic Tate Modern.

Family highlights include Just So – a new play based on stories by Rudyard Kipling, The Fishing Museum’s Fringe of Fun – puppet shows and treasure hunts. Thumbelina, winner of Fringe Review’s outstanding theatre award in 2013, and the Family Picnic in Pavilion Gardens will return on Saturday 3 May.

For more information tel: 01273 917272 or visit


Open Garden Events

In aid of Dame Vera Lynn Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy. You can visit DVLT’s wonderful gardens on 10 May in Horsham Town Centre, 21 June in Broadbridge Heath and 6 July in Rudgwick. Each of the gardens offers a unique experience and admission is free. For further information on each garden contact Nikki on tel: 01403 780444 or visit


May events at Amberley Museum

4 May: Vintage, Veteran and Classic Motorcycle Show.

10-11 May: Printing Weekend.

11 May: Spring Steam and Vintage Fayre.

28 May: Family Fun Day.

Amberley Museum, Amberley, near Arundel: 01798 831370


Stevie - Now until 18 May

By Hugh Whitemore from the life and work of Stevie Smith and starring Zoe Wanamaker. Hugh Whitemore’s award-winning play is both a moving glimpse into an unconventional and challenging life, and a compelling celebration of Stevie Smith’s ever-popular and powerful poetry.

Tickets: £24 and £33.

Minerva Theatre, Chichester: 01243 781312


Arlington Bluebell Walk - 1 May

Open 10am-5pm daily. Breathe in the scents and sights of spring at Arlington Bluebell Woods near Hailsham. Walkers of all ages will have plenty of room to stretch their legs over the 23-acre woodland site, one of the most spectacular carpets of native bluebells in the UK. Pick up tasty local produce from the new Bluebell Farm Shop.

Bates Green Farm, Tye Hill Road, Arlington, Polegate.


An evening with internationally acclaimed harpist Ieuan Jones - 3-4 May

6pm. This is an opportunity to hear one of the world’s finest harpists play as he performs in the intimate surroundings of The Stag, a vaulted private dining room at The Leconfield Restaurant in Petworth.

Tickets £45 per person to include dinner and glass of wine on arrival. Booking essential. To book tel: 01798 345111 or email

The Leconfield Restaurant and Bar, New Street, Petworth.


Magnificent Motors

Eastbourne’s Western Lawns will welcome back over 600 vintage and classic cars, motorbikes, and buses and more at this two-day free festival.

For more information on the event and exhibiting go to


Hello Kitty - 10 May

Brand new for 2014, Hello Kitty will return to her home at Drusillas on 20 dates during the year. Visit her in her beautiful themed house and have a souvenir photo taken with the cutest girl herself. The first date in Monday 5 May.

Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open daily from 10am.

For more information tel: 01323 874100 or visit


Concert of Chamber Music with Flute - 10 May

Florin Ensemble

St Pancras Church, The Street, Kingston

A fundraising concert for St Pancras Church. Tickets £10 (to include glass of wine in interval). For tickets tel: Brian Simmons 01273 474303 or Jennie Yates 01273 473264.

For more information visit


Museums at Night - 16-26 May

Museums at Night is an annual UK-wide festival, which seeks to encourage visitors into museums, galleries and heritage sites by throwing their doors open after hours and putting on special evening events.

To learn more about what will be happening and plan which events you’d like to go to, including those in Sussex, simply visit


Charleston Festival

Join the party for a landmark 25th anniversary Charleston Festival – an extravaganza of books, ideas and performances. The venue, once a home and meeting place for the artists, writers and thinkers of the Bloomsbury Group, provides a matchless context for the inspiring events.

The programme includes many defining voices of the last 25 years: Carol Ann Duffy creates an anniversary poem; Ian McEwan reveals a new work; David Hare discusses politics and drama; Richard Dawkins shares his sense of wonder; Nicholas Hytner celebrates Shakespeare; Grayson Perry mixes art and fashion; Michael Morpurgo believes there is no glory in war. And much more. For more information visit


Wardsbrook Concerts - 22 May

Wardsbrook Concerts’ annual festival of song in a magnificent Tudor barn in Ticehurst, East Sussex is fast becoming one of the summer’s essential musical fixtures. Founded last year by British tenor Toby Spence, his brother Magnus and renowned conductor Edward Gardner OBE, Wardsbrook announces a dazzling line-up for 2014 including Dame Felicity Lott (Sunday 18 May), Ian Bostridge (Sunday 25 May), Christiane Karg (Sunday 8 June) and Gyula Orendt (Sunday 22 June). For more information visit


Evan Christopher Frant Festival of Music - 23 May

8pm. Evan Christopher and his quartet Django à la Créole will be playing the music of Django Reinhardt, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington at Frant Church, in Frant, near Tunbridge Wells. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the concert.

Tickets: £15. Ticket enquiries: Paul Barber 01892 750665, email or David Cragg 01892 750845.


An Evening in the Woods

7.30pm-9.30pm. Enjoy an evening in the woods at Friston Forest with Sussex Wildlife Trust. Light a campfire, discover where badgers live and listen for bats as they skim through the trees. Enjoy hot drinks round the fire. Suitable for children 7-12 years; all children must be accompanied by an adult. SWT members: Child £5, Adult £2.50. Non-members: Child £7, Adult £3.50.

For further information and booking visit or call 01273 497561.


The Spring Garden & Leisure Show - 4-5 May

Spring is just around the corner at the South of England Showground in Ardingly where horticulture will be at the heart of the Spring Garden & Leisure Show.

Introducing the latest retro-fashion in gardening, a Victorian-style Stumpery will be the horticultural centrepiece of the show, made from uprooted tree trunks planted with flowers. Jean Griffin, BBC Sussex, Surrey and Kent resident gardening expert, will lead an exciting programme of Q&A sessions with gardening experts and floristry displays in the Gardening Theatre.r tickets tel: 01444 892700 or for more information visit


Chichester Cathedral Festival Flowers - 29-31 May

This will be the 10th anniversary of this spectacular floral event. The theme is The Music Makers, a stunning array of creative, imaginative and beautiful flower designs, interpreting 12 centuries of music. Open 10am-7pm (Thursday and Friday) and 10am-6pm (Saturday).


May Festival - 22-24 May

Goodwood Racecourse

Gates open 11.30am. Three days of back-to-back high quality racing that will include four listed races: the Cocked Hat, Height of Fashion, Festival Stakes and Tapster Stakes with total prize money over the three days exceeding £300,000. Tickets: £10-£32.

Goodwood Racecourse, Chichester: 01243 216610


Yesterday’s World at Battle

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI, a new Great War trenches experience has been recreated and brought to life at Yesterday’s World in Battle.

This new attraction will give visitors the opportunity to experience what life was like in the trenches during the First World War (1914 to 1918).

Visitors can also see the effects the war had on towns and cities in the Second World War through a recreated blitz street scene complete with replica unexploded bomb. Discover an underground air raid shelter complete with bunk beds.

The vintage NAAFI style tearooms will have delicious wartime favourites on the menu, including homemade sponge cakes and scones.

For more information tel: 01424 777226 or visit


Garden and Local Produce Fair - 15 May

In aid of St Catherine’s Hospice. BBC Antique Roadshow specialist Dendy Easton will open the fair at 10.30am. The event at Summers Place in Billingshurst has become regarded as a mini Chelsea, bringing to West Sussex a wealth of specialist plant growers to chat about plants and growing.

Early birds can enjoy a Bubbly Preview Breakfast from 8.30am-10.30am with tickets at £12.50. General admission £4. For tickets tel: 01293 447367 or for more information visit