Festival of the Garden: The Culture of Place

Charleston, Firle

Friday and Saturday July 28 and 29

Tickets £12 per event/concs £10

What is it about a place that makes us like it? This question is addressed in a series of talks at Charleston, the home of the artistic Bloomsbury Group. It’s curated by landscape gardener Tom Stuart-Smith, an eight times Chelsea Gold medallist who is known for his work expressing cerebral conception through supremely beautiful execution. Over the two days, there will be eight talks by leading gardeners, designers, ecologists, campaigners and writers who will explore themes of what makes a place interesting and engaging, can the garden, whether ancient or modern, tell a story, and if so what can this narrative mean for us, and how do we go about expressing ourselves through our gardens and outdoor spaces? On the programme is Wild Lands with Charlie Burrell, Landscape and Emotion with architect Kim Wilkie, John Watkins talking on Reviving the Past and Gardens as Living History, The Culture of Gardening with Tom Stuart-Smith, Faded Glories with photographer Rachel Warne, The Magic of Dixter with Fergus Garrett, Gravetye Manor: The Development of an Historic Garden with Tom Coward. Hidden Nature with Alys Fowler, The Garden at Charleston with Peter Owen-Jones, Dr Darren Clarke and Mark Divall, and Poetry in the Walled Garden with Andrew Wincott and Emerald O’Hanrahan. There will also be a plant stall by Pelham Plants in association with The Garden House, cream teas and free demonstrations by local craftspeople on the skills and traditional practices of hedge-laying, bee-keeping and green timber.

Phone 01323 811626 or visit

An Evening with Brian Blessed

Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton

Sunday July 29, 7.30pm

Tickets £29.15

Actor Brian Blessed, known for his booming operatic voice and hearty portrayals on film and television, talks about his career on stage and screen, including anecdotes from Flash Gordon, Black Adder, I Claudius and Z Cars as well as his appearances in Shakespearean productions. Also an avid climber, he has conquered Everest and Kilimanjaro.

Phone 0844 871 7650 or visit

When The Sun Came Out

De La Warr Pavilion, Marina, Bexhill-on-Sea

Saturday August 4, 2pm

Tickets £10

During a day of events held by The Twentieth Century Southern Society, there will be behind-the-scenes Building Tour of the De La Warr Pavilion led by Stewart Drew, director of the DLWP, and Graham Whitham, author of De La Warr: A Short History. Kathryn Ferry then gives a talk on When The Sun Came Out: Interwar Architecture by the Sea.

Phone 01424 229111 or visit

Through the Lens Talks

St Mary in the Castle, 7 Pelham Crescent, Hastings

Saturday September 1, 10.30am-8pm

Tickets  £3.48-£15.65

Through the Lens is a seven-day photographic festival held at St Mary in the Castle, a must-see event for any photographer, photo-enthusiast, keen amateur or anyone who wants to see the world through a different lens. With new emerging photographic talent exhibiting alongside well-established photographers where viewers can see contemporary photography and reportage all under one roof, the event also includes a mix of world-class guest speakers. Photographer, author, presenter and curator Peter Dench (10.30am-12noon) gives an insight into what it takes be a successful photographer in today’s climate, all done in his own inimitable style. Publisher and photographer J J Waller (12.30pm-2pm) will be discussing his photographic project on Hastings and St Leonards. Antony Penrose, pictured, (2.30pm-4pm) is a photographer, film maker, author and director of the Lee Miller Archive and Penrose Collection at Farley Farm House. He is the son of the extraordinary American photographer Lee Miller and English artist, historian and poet, Sir Roland Penrose, and tonight will be discussing the life of Lee Miller. Magnum photographer, author and curator Mark Power (4.30pm-6pm) will be discussing his life as a photographer. Special guest speaker Martin Parr (6.30pm-8pm), one of the best-known documentary photographers of his generation, will be talking about his life in photography.

Phone 01424 715880 or visit

An Evening with Abyss & his ‘brother’ Joseph Park

St Paul’s Art Centre, 55b Chapel Road, Worthing

Satruday September 1, 7pm

Tickets £40/early bird £25. Age 18+

No more than 200 people will have a chance to hear Abyss & his ‘brother’ Joseph Park recount the highs and lows of their career in the world of kayfabe, or the portrayal of events within the industry as ‘real’. There will be a chance for some audience participation and there will also be a chance to meet Abyss or his brother on a one-to-one basis.

Phone 0843 902 0768 or visit

Joan Collins: Unscripted

Assembly Hall, Stoke Abbott Road, Worthing

Friday September 7, 7.30pm

Tickets from £40.50

Actress Joan Collins, famous for her roles in the movies The Bitch and The Stud as well as TV’s Dynasty, reveals some of the exciting stories and secrets from her life long career. This ageless beauty, with dry wit and a wry, knowing smile, who became a household name during the 80’s on the long running US soap Dynasty will present an intimate first person narrative, of a behind-the-scenes tell-all on her life, loves and Hollywood, delivered with her usual healthy cynicism and fun outlook. This year, she joins the cast of American Horror Story.

Phone 01903 206206 or visit

Dahlia Day

Great Dixter, House & Gardens, Northiam, Rye, and Perch Hill Farm, Willingford Lane, Burwash, Robertsbridge

Wednesday September 12


This is a two-garden dahlia celebration event, joining gardening guru Sarah Raven and the Great Dixter gardeners for a private garden tour and talk in both these late season gardens. Great Dixter and Perch Hill are both gardens full of dahlias, which flower for months and keep going late in the year and yet need minimal TLC. This is a chance to learn how to choose the most beautiful, floweriest, most productive and longest lasting of these spectacular plants in September, when they’re looking their best.

Phone 0345 092 0283 or visit

Bernstein, Hussey and the Chichester Psalms

West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester

Tuesday September 18, 7pm-9pm

Tickets £8, must be booked in advance

As part of the Bernstein In Chichester Festival marking the centenary of the birth of the West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein, author and critic Nigel Simeone explores the lively exchange of letters between Dean Walter Hussey (pictured above, right) of Chichester Cathedral and Bernstein (pictured above, left) concerning the commission that led to the Chichester Psalms. The editor of The Leonard Bernstein Letters tells the story behind the choral work written for the 1965 Southern Cathedrals Festival and its surprising origins in the music for a Broadway show. Simeone is the author of Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story, which examined the creative process behind the show and its lasting impact and reputation, as well as acclaimed studies of Messiaen and Janacek. The talk will be accompanied by a display of rare and original documents relating to the Chichester Psalms from the West Sussex Record Office’s archive.

Read our feature on the Bernstein In Chichester Festival.

Phone 01243 753602 or visit

Carol Klein – Life in a Cottage Garden

The Capitol Horsham, North Street, Horsham

Wednesday September 19, 7.30pm

Tickets £24

Acclaimed plantswoman, bestselling author and gardening expert Carol Klein is most famous for her role as regular presenter of BBC Gardeners’ World. Her natural down-to-earth approach has made her a popular and trusted figure, and she comes to Horsham to talk about life in her own beautiful cottage garden.

Phone 01403 750220 or visit

Jason Donovan & His Amazing Midlife Crisis Autumn Tour

The Capitol Horsham, North Street, Horsham

Wednesday September 26, 7.30pm

Tickets  £26.50

Actor and singer Jason Donovan is celebrating his 50th birthday and in this autobiographical show he will zigzag back and forth through his life, with stories about Neighbours, Ten Good Reasons, Kylie, Joseph, I’m A Celebrity, Strictly and more.

Phone 01403 750220 or visit

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