Bernstein in Chichester Festival

Various venues in Chichester

Until November

Chichester celebrates its unique relationship with West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein (pictured above) with a festival marking his centenary and featuring stars including actors Patricia Routledge and Peter McEnery and the conductor Carl Davis. This year marks the centenary of the birth of Bernstein and this festival culminates in a special performance of his composition the Chichester Psalms at Chichester Cathedral by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which is conducted by Marin Alsop, who was taught and mentored by Bernstein. Bernstein himself was present at the world premiere of the Chichester Psalms at the Southern Cathedrals Festival in 1965. This festival, which has a programme of concerts, workshops, revues, jazz, talks, film shows, exhibitions and reunions, is part of a worldwide celebration of the 100th birthday of the composer, conductor, musician, cultural ambassador and humanitarian, who died aged 72 in 1990. Keeping Up Appearances star Patricia Routledge (pictured below with Howard Seckerson) will speak for the first time about her working relationship and valued personal friendship with Bernstein, while actor Peter McEnery performs his one-man show Walter & Lenny, which he devised and is directed by his wife, the actress Julia St John. There will be a performance of Carl Davis’s Sing God A Simple Song, an original musical entertainment depicting seven aspects of Bernstein’s musical life. Picture of Leonard Bernstein: Paul de Hueck, courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office Inc. Picture of Carl Davis, below right: Jasper Fry.

Read our feature on the Bernstein in Chichester Festival.

Email info@bernsteininchichester.com or visit bernsteininchichester.uk.



Chichester Festival 2018


Chichester Festival Theatre Oaklands Park, Chichester.


Tickets from £10/prologue: £5 tickets for 16-25s

STARS of stage and screen including Caroline Quentin (above left), Penelope Keith (above right), Patricia Hodge (below left), Matt Lucas (below right), Tracy-Ann Oberman and Rufus Hound headline Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2018. Men Behaving Badly star Caroline Quentin and Little Britain star Matt Lucas make their Chichester debuts in the musical Me And My Girl while Penelope Keith makes a return to Chichester to star in The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold. Copenhagen by Michael Frayn stars Patricia Hodge, who appeared on TV in Miranda, and Downton Abbey actor Charles Edwards, who played Lady Edith’s love Michael Gregson, as well as Spooks actor Paul Jesson, who is making his Chichester debut. The programme also includes Cock, a very adult play by Dr Foster writer Mike Bartlett, described as “a provocative peep into relationships in these days of oscillating identities”. Singer, actor and comedian Gary Wilmot appears alongside The Bill star Clare Burt and award-winning actress Joanna Riding in Flowers for Mrs Harris from the novel by Paul Gallico, and actor and director Samuel West directs The Watsons, a new play by Laura Wade adapted from the unfinished novel by Jane Austen. Rufus Hound stars in Noel Coward’s comedy Present Laughter, and there’s also a double bill of plays by debbie tucker green, one of theatre’s most original and internationally acclaimed voices. For children, there’s an adaptation of David Walliams’ The Midnight Gang by Bryony Lavery with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe. Present Laughter by Noël Coward runs from Friday April 20-Saturday May 12. random/generations runs from Friday May 4-Saturday June 2. The Chalk Garden runs from Friday-Saturday May 25-June 16. The Country Wife runs from Friday-Saturday June 8-July 7. Me And My Girl runs from Monday July 2-Saturday August 25. The Meeting runs from Friday-Saturday July 13- August 11. Copenhagen runs from Friday-Saturday August 17-September 22. Flowers for Mrs Harris runs from Friday-Saturday September 28-October 27. Cock runs from Friday-Saturday September 28-October 27. The Midnight Gang by David Walliams runs from Saturday-Saturday October 13-November 3. The Watsons Saturday-Saturday November 3-December 1. Sleeping Beauty Saturday-Sunday December 15-30.

Read our feature on Chichester Festival 2018.

Phone 01243 781312 or visit cft.org.uk.


Tulip Festival

Arundel Castle, Arundel


More than 60,000 tulips will be blooming in Arundel Castle’s gardens with a wide range of varieties of tulips in flower, creating an explosion of colour in its walled gardens. Among the 120 named tulips on display are Olympic Flame, Lilac Time, Swan Wings, Fancy Frills, Apeldoorn’s Elite, Black Parrot and Negrita, plus the peony flowered Angelique. Planted in an array of unique horticultural designs, there are innovative displays around the Collector Earl’s Garden, where 4,000 Pink Impression and Purple Prince tulips will be on show. Nearby, in the Wild Flower Garden, by the Stumpery, there will soon be a display of over 8,000 mixed tulips. Pictures: Julia Claxton.

Phone 01903 882173 or visit arundelcastle.org.

East Grinstead Music & Arts Festival

Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre, De La Warr Road, East Grinstead

Sunday-Sunday April 8-May 13, various times

Tickets: various prices

This festival, first held in East Grinstead in 1968, encourages and promotes singing, dancing, and speech & drama in Sussex and neighbouring counties. Students from all over the south of England take part and many of its competitors have gone on to perform professionally in national and international productions.

Phone 01342 302000 or visit chequermead.org.uk or egmaf.org.uk.

Tulip Festival

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, near Wadhurst

Tuesday-Tuesday April 24-May 8, 10am-5pm

Entrance £11

The garden at Pashley Manor is carpeted with more than 40,000 tulips in 112 varieties, planted in colour-themed ‘rooms’. From elegant displays of white lily flowered and cream classic tulips planted around an old terrace to the sweeping herbaceous borders covered in a  riot of reds and oranges between red brick walls and pleached pear trees. There will also be a display of cut flower tulips in the Bloms Bulbs marquee. The Bluebell Walk in woodland may also be in flower at the same time. Picture: Kate Wilson.

Phone 01580 200888 or visit pashleymanorgardens.com.

Brighton Fringe 2018

Various venues, Brighton, Hove and beyond

Friday May 4-Sunday June 3

Tickets on sale from March 1

With more than 1,000 events, Brighton’s creative soul is showcased in Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival. Featuring a host “wild and wonderful performers”, the creative, fun and off-beat festival sets out to “stimulate, educate and entertain a diverse range of people through a wide variety of art forms  – and all of this in an iconic city with unique cultural heritage”. Events range from performances of Myra, the story of Myra Hindley, performed by Pretty Villain Productions at Brighton’s Rialto Theatre, to My Divorce Runneth Over, with three blokes looking at life in the divorced lane at at The Richmond in Brighton. There are food tours, history tours and an aquarium history tour, loads of comedy, art including an exhibition of work by Melvyn Biddulph at the Skyway Gallery in Shoreham-by-Sea, storytelling, children’s events and improvisation. Highlights include seasons of Dutch, Flemish and Finnish work, as well as an impressive slew of world premieres. A theme of the festival this year is widening access to the arts, so there will be more than 300 free events. Picture: Fringe performers The Kalande Drummers at the launch of the Fringe programme at Brighton station/picture: Stephen Lawrence.

Phone 01273 917272, email boxoffice@brightonfringe.org or visit brightonfringe.org.

Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival

St Catherine’s College, 59 Priory Road, and Langley Primary School and Sports Hall, 7 Chailey Close, both Eastbourne

Friday-Monday May 4-7

Tickets £15-£108

During three days and nights of dancing on the sunshine coast, the line-up of performers and events includes the Playford Ball where the English country dance from the late 17th and early 18th century will be  performed, US musicians Persons of Quality where 18th century England meets 21st century California, dance performer and teacher Kalia Kliban, who specialises in morris, American clogging and English country dance, New England caller Lisa Greenleaf, Loughborough caller and dancer Lynne Render, period costume dancer Brian Stanton, folk dancer Dalila Heath, the Gog Magog Molly Dancers, who perform traditional molly dancing from the fens of East Anglia, Breton dancers Hervé Dréan and Rachel Goodwin, Irish set dancer Maggie Daniel, dance teachers Jill Bransby and Maggie O’Regan and more.

Visit diff.org.uk.

Hastings Jack in the Green Festival

Hastings Old Town, Hastings

Friday-Monday May 4-7

The annual Jack in the Green Festival is a four-day May Day celebration that has been described as “thee celebration of Morris dancing and traditional merriment, centring on the symbolic figure of Jack in the Green and culminating in a wild costumed parade – one of the most bizarre in Britain”. It includes music from local bands, historic and social events, and family fun. The weekend culminates on May Bank Holiday Monday with the Jack in the Green parade, which begins at 9.45am at the Fisherman’s Huts in Rock-a-Nore Road in the Old Town, and finishes on the West Hill, where there will be traditional folk dancers and music. The festival ends with the ‘slaying’ of Jack to release the spirit of summer for this year. Among the artistes and performers are ceilidh band Banter with caller Fee Lock taking participants through the dances, Rottingdean country singers The Copper Family, singer and fiddle player Molly Evans with multi-instrumentalist Jack Rutter, Hastings a-cappella vocal harmony group Now and Then, Hastings female harmony group Rattlebag, ceilidh band Take the Biscuit with caller Sheena Mason, Sussex/Kent band Wakin’ Snakes, which has an Early American and cajun sound.

Email hastingsjackinthegreen@gmail.com or visit hastingsjitg.co.uk.

Artists Open Houses Festival

Various venues, Brighton

Weekends Saturday-Sunday May 5-27


Artists Open Houses in Brighton runs during the Brighton Festival, and gives art lovers the chance to visit the homes and studios of artists and makers and buy directly from them. The festival aims to open up a mix of arts and crafts to the widest possible audience, when visitors can expect to see jewellery, ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture, printmaking, photography and other media. There will be a chance to talk directly with the artists.

Visit aoh.org.uk.

Brighton Festival 2018

Various venues, Brighton and Hove

Saturday Sunday May 5-27

Brighton-based visual artist David Shrigley (pictured) is the guest director at this year’s Brighton Festival, following in the footsteps of arts luminaries including Kate Tempest, Laurie Anderson, Ali Smith, Hofesh Shecter and Michael Rosen. His offbeat take is reflected in an eclectic programme spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate, from Brighton Festival commission Problem in Brighton, a brand new alt rock/pop pantomime, written and directed by David Shrigley himself to a live durational reading of Camus’s seminal The Myth of Sisyphus, and performances from genderqueer rock‘n’roll hero Ezra Furman and cult-favourite Amanda Palmer. Alongside Life Model II, a follow-up to the artist’s Turner Prize-nominated installation of the same name, which invites visitors to take part in a life drawing class with a sculpture of a nine-foot-tall woman as the ‘model’, there is an illustrated talk billed as ‘containing numerous rambling anecdotes… not in the slightest bit boring’, and a screening of a documentary about his work. Other events close to the artist’s heart include an exclusive collaboration between orchestral collective Stargaze and one of his favourite bands, Deerhoof; an exhibition by San-Francisco-based artist and trucker Brett Goodroad (picture below); and a double bill from his friend Malcolm Middleton, one half of Arab Strap, and Scottish musician Iain Shaw, whose quirky folk song-smithery has turned Shrigley’s poems into incisive songs on albums like Awesome and Listening to Slayer. Picture of David Shrigley: Victor Frankowski. Picture below: John Janca.

Phone 01273 709709, email tickets@brightonfestival.org or visit brightonfestival.org.

Read our feature on the Brighton Festival.

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