What's On in Sussex in May

SIX by Marlow ;Directed by Moss and Armitage ;Set designed by Bailey ;Costumes designed by Slade

We won't be losing our head over SIX the historic musical - Credit: JOHAN PERSSON

Our guide to the best events in Sussex this May

COMPILED BY: Duncan Hall 

Theatre and stage

May 27
Bill Bailey: En route to normal 
Brighton Centre

Bill Bailey won't be dancing around the truth in Brighton

Bill Bailey won't be dancing around the truth in Brighton - Credit: Supplied by Brighton Centre

Before he lifted the Strictly Come Dancing crown, Bill Bailey had already established himself as a comedy rock god taking his whimsy and arsenal of instruments to arenas across the country without the need of a primetime push. These rescheduled January shows see him explore the unreality of our new world.
8pm, from £39.05. 

Until June 4
Murder on the Orient Express 
Chichester Festival Theatre
Henry Goodman dons the curly moustaches as Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian detective, in a stage adaptation from the novel by Ken Ludwig and directed by former CFT artistic director Jonathan Church. Hercule Poirot boards the famed Orient Express, only to have his winter journey cut short by snowdrifts - and murder. 
7.30pm, 2.30pm matinees, from £10.

Until July 9
The Unfriend 
Minerva Theatre, Chichester
The creative team behind BBC One’s Sherlock and Dracula is reunited with writer Stephen Moffat’s new comedy, directed by his regular co-writer Mark Gatiss, of League of Gentlemen fame. Amanda Abbington (also Sherlock), Reece Shearsmith, of Inside No 9, and Frances Barber star in a tale of modern manners which begins on a holiday cruise and ends up with an unwelcome guest taking residence.
7.45pm, 2.45pm matinees, from £21.

May 24-28
Bat Out of Hell 
Congress Theatre, Eastbourne
When Meat Loaf died earlier this year, the world lost a one-off talent, with an operatic voice and a flair for the dramatic onstage as he interpreted the songs of the late Jim Steinman. This West End hit plays tribute to both stars following the story of motorcyle gang leader Strat who falls in love with Raven, the daughter of the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian.
7.30pm, 2.30pm matinees, from £16.

May 31-June 5 
Congress Theatre, Eastbourne

The six wives of Henry VIII tell their stories in this 80-minute musical celebration of girl power, backed by an all-female band The Ladies in Waiting. The Broadway and West End hit began life in 2017 playing a 100-capacity room at the Edinburgh Fringe.
8pm (except Fri and Sun), Fri 6pm and 8.30pm, Sat 4pm, Sun 2.30pm, from £22.


May 28
The Hollies 
Brighton Centre
Now celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Manchester band still features original members drummer Bobby Elliott and singer and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, who will lead the audience through unforgettable hits including Bus Stop, Carrie-Anne, The Air The I Breathe and He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.
Doors 6.30pm, from £34.55.


Until June 19
Our Toy Story
Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
You know time is marching on when items from your childhood start to appear behind museum glass. This deep dive into the Worthing Museum archives draws on board games from the 18th century right through to Playmobil knights, rare Hornby engines and even Teletubbies.
Open 10am-5pm Fri/Sat, 10am-8pm Thurs, 11am-3pm Sun, free.

Until June 5
In Nature: A Celebration in Sculpture 
The Secret Garden, Bristol Gardens, Kemp Town, Brighton

Artists celebrate nature at The Secret Garden 

Artists celebrate nature at The Secret Garden - Credit: Wendy Taylor

This sculpture exhibition draws inspiration from trees and seeds, featuring the late Kenneth Armitage’s large-scale Richmond Oak, Wendy Taylor’s seed series and innovative works by Lewes -based Julian Wild and Will Nash.
Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays 11am to 5pm, free.

Until May 29
Artists Open Houses May 2022 
Across Brighton and Hove
Artists across Brighton and Hove, and beyond, throw open their studio doors to not only sell their wares, but allow visitors a peek at their soft furnishings. Look out for professional studios opening their doors too, including Phoenix Arts Space from May 20-22 featuring work by David Scott Moore.
Weekends, free.

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Out and about

Until June 5
Brighton Fringe
Across Brighton and Hove
Brighton Festival’s naughty sibling may boast only 700 events, compared to a pre-Covid high of more than 1,000, but that still makes it one of the biggest open access arts festivals in the world. Performers will be taking over pub function rooms, community halls and established venues such as Komedia and New Venture Theatre, as well as specially created spaces including the ever-popular Spiegeltent on Old Steine Gardens and the Rotunda Theatre in Regency Square.
Various times and prices.

Until May 29
Brighton Festival 
Across Brighton and Hove
Boasting more than 150 events across the city and beyond, Brighton Festival is back, with guest co-directors Syrian writer Marwa Al-Sabouni and Brighton theatremaker Tristan Sharps at the helm. This year’s theme, following the desolation caused by the Covid pandemic to the arts scene, is Rebuilding. Expect a mix of cutting-edge interactive theatre experiences, contemporary circus, site-specific art, live music, film screenings, debates and talks, and family events, with the whole thing kicking off on Saturday, May 7, with the annual children’s parade through the city.
Various times and prices.

May 19-26
Charleston Festival
Charleston, near Firle
The annual celebration of the written word in the former home of Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant returns with special guests including Bob Geldof, actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Callow and Sheila Hancock, writers Armistead Maupin, Sarah Moss and Jacqueline Wilson, MPs Jess Phillips, Caroline Lucas and Andrew Mitchell, former Newsnight journalist Emily Maitlis, fashion designers Kim Jones and Zandra Rhodes and the Jeremy Hutchinson Memorial Lecture by the Supreme Court’s first female president Lady Hale.
Various times and prices.