Four shows to see in East Sussex

Ian McKellen. Picture by Oliver Rosser
Ian McKellen. Picture by Oliver Rosser

Wondering what do over the next couple of weeks? Here are four of the best events.

Ian McKellen celebrates 80th birthday with UK tour

Ian McKellen is celebrating his 80th birthday with a huge UK tour that heads to the Brighton Dome from Monday to Friday, July 15-19.

The show is playing on 80 stages and the event is helping to raise funds for theatres across the UK.

The tour includes venues with which Ian has personal connections, like amateur groups he knew as a child and playhouses he played in as an actor over the past 50 years.

Sir Ian said: “The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In between there will be anecdotes and acting.”

He continued: “Live theatre has always been thrilling to me, as an actor and in the audience. Growing up in Lancashire, I was grateful to those companies who toured beyond London and I’ve always enjoyed repaying that debt by touring up and down the country.”

Tickets from £10.25.


Active Arts return to De La Warr Pavilion

Active Arts are back at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, on Wednesday, July 17, with their new show, Flying High.

Performers will be showcasing their work in a night of comedy, drama, musical theatre, dance and film-making.

Joining Active Arts Students this year are talented friends and colleagues from Boathouse Theatre and Open Door. They have been inspired by previous shows and are looking forward to the event.

Flying High will be compered by Henning Wehn.

Doors 7pm. Tickets £12 (£10 conc). Call 01424 229111 or email

Active Arts is a performing and visual arts course for adults with learning disabilities run by Hastings and Bexhill Mencap Society.

Soprano helps raise funds for hospice at Hippodrome

Britain’s best known soprano, Lesley Garrett CBE, performs in a fabulous fundraising concert at Eastbourne’s Royal Hippodrome on Thursday, July 18.

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £23-£25. All profits will go to St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

Lesley has worked in opera, musical theatre, concerts, TV and radio, and has travelled the world in a career that has spanned almost 40 years.

She will be joined in Eastbourne by fellow soprano Faryl Smith, as well as The Trapdoor Theatre School, Concentus and the Bourne Chorus.

Click here to read our interview with Lesley.

Middle-aged Julie searches for the sex life she once had

A former East Sussex resident is bringing her risqué but heartwarming one-woman show to Eastbourne ahead of its Edinburgh run.

Debbie Bird, who grew up in Seaford and has family in Eastbourne, performs Buzzing at Printer’s Playhouse on Friday, July 19.

The show, which is written by Debbie and directed by Mark Farrelly, tells the story of fiftysomething Julie, who is searching for the sex life she once had. Hindered by her inhibitions, a perimenopausal body and the thought of mature dating, Julie declares: “Midlife is exactly that. Middle of life. I’m not ready to be put out to pasture yet.”

In 2015, Debbie, who was 48 at the time, relocated to Basingstoke to follow her dream of becoming a professional actress. She left behind a successful teaching career and got into a London drama school, graduating with an MA in December 2016 and filming her first short film only two weeks later.

Buy a ticket at here.

Beverley Knight, Rumer, Jon Cleary and Lucky Peterson: world-class jazz and blues at Rye. Click here to find out more.

Four shows to see in Eastbourne. Click here to find out more.