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Yes you May! What’s on locally this month

Culture vultures, unite! We've got excellent exhibitions, comedy shows, thumping good theatre, fab festivals, and so much more happing across Surrey this May.

Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly and Faye Brookes as Roxie in ‘Chicago’ which comes to Woking and Wimbledon in May. Photo by: Tristram Kenton

EXHIBITION: Treasured Possessions – Riches of Polesden Lacey
■ Polesden Lacey, nr Dorking ■ ongoing until 30 October

Discover the most significant treasures in Mrs Greville’s collection including carved and jewelled Fabergé and Cartier animals, and much-cherished Fabergé egg, rare ceramics and silver, and French, Italian and Dutch paintings. Entry included in usual admission price.

ACTIVITY: Kew Explorer Land Train
■ Kew Gardens, Richmond ■ Daily
Meeting at the Victoria Plaza, the route takes you along the sights of Kew Gardens, including the Mediterranean Garden and Japanese getaway. The tour lasts 40 minutes and commences at 11am but times do vary so be sure to check the days schedule!

EXHIBITIONS: Surrey Sculpture Exhibition
■ Ramster Gardens, Chiddingfold ■ ongoing until 5 June 
Visit a collection of exquisite original pieces set in the woodland areas of Ramster, by professional and novice artists. Follow to set trail to avoid missing any of the best bits. The exhibition is included in the price of entry. 

EVENT: Walton Folk Festival  
■ Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames ■ Sun 1 May 
Celebrate the bank holiday in style by heading to the folk festival, with a line-up that includes classic Celtic bands, other roots and acoustic artists and headliner Wildwood Kin. Also performing are Polly Paulusma and Angeline Morrison. Tickets cost £39 and are known to be a rapid sell out!

THEATRE: Chicago
■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ Mon 2 – Sat 7 May
Known as the ‘sexiest musical ever’, the show follows Roxie Hart as she murders her lover and tries to stay out of jail, hiring Chicago’s most notorious criminal lawyer to help her do so. Starring Faye Brookes of Coronation Street and other sensational singers. Tickets available from £13. And if you miss the Woking show, it rolls in the New Wimbledon Theatre from 17-21 May.

■ Hatchlands Park, East Clandon ■ Fri 6 May
Visit at dusk for a guided tour of the grounds and perhaps…, if you’re lucky, you may encounter a bat or two. No promises! 9 difference species exist in the bat population, so I’m liking your chances. The walk starts at 8pm, so be sure to arrive with a torch or two. 

TALK: The History of Royal Fashion 
■ The Guildford Institute, Guildford ■ Fri 6 May 
Learn all about the fashion-forward British royals, stretching from the 14th century to present day, and how their clothes were worn to represent power status and political opinion. View a variety of collections, texts and sketches that document the lavish wardrobe of the higher ups. 

WORKSHOP: Wake Up Dance Class
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Every Friday in May
Who doesn’t like to crank up the tunes and boogey to the most cringey but fabulous music on earth? The class is suitable for all abilities and help with mobility, confidence and of course the essential dancing skills. Tickets are £2 and classes start at 10am. 

KIDS’ WORKSHOP: Rooted in Guildford Family Fun Day
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Sat 7 May
Nothing better than a freebie workshop to keep the kids entertained and help to get some good bonding time in. There will be a whole host of activities present, like yoga, face painting, music and ukulele playing. Also running is the ‘Family Fun Day Swap Shop’ to exchange an unused item for something new(ish)! No pre-booking needed. 

KIDS’ THEATRE: Robin Hood Rescues the Forest
■ Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames ■ Sat 7 May 
Defend Sherwood Forest against the evil King John, who seeks to burn the whole place down! Robin Hood fights to outwit the King and save the forest, supplying the peasants with some much-needed coin. The interactive performance is suitable for ages 5-12 and lasts appox. 60 mins. 

WORKSHOP: Watercolour Painting Woodland Bluebells  
■ Nower Wood Educational Nature Reserve, Leatherhead ■ Sat 7 May 
With a muse the size of a football pitch, be inspired by the bluebell bloom and create watercolours in perfect likeness. Gain access to the private nature reserve i.e., untrampled woodlands, and be guided through the process by a professional painter to help you capture the perfect moment. 

EVENT: DogFest
■ Loseley Park, near Guildford ■ Sat 7 & Sun 8 May 
Bring your dog along to Surrey’s largest dog-centred festival. Try an array of activities to get those tails wagging, including dog diving and agility, and even participate in the Fun Dog Show! Also gain valuable insight and advice from experts in health and training. Funds go towards Dogs Trust. 

MUSIC: Jazz Jam
■ Merry Harriers, Hambledon ■ Sun 8 May

Calling all jazz musicians (and lovers of jazz!). Head to the Merry Harriers for an afternoon jam session in the garden. It’s on from 3pm-5pm.

WORKSHOP: Free Your Creativity
■ Dorking ■ Sun 8 May 
Join creativity teacher and free your inner-self in the ultimate mess-making openminded art class. Look at different artists and styles, including jelly-prints, mono-prints and collage, and learn how best to let the creative juices run wild. The class is £40 per person, with limited availability. 

WORKSHOP: Yoga and Brunch
■ Hartsfield Manor, Betchworth ■ Sun 8 May
Ready to slow down, breathe deep and take some time just for you? Then book now for Yoga and Brunch at the pretty Hartsfield Manor. You’ll start with a one-hour light and playful yoga practice, followed by a 30-minute sound healing session and then after a short break tuck into a vegetarian brunch buffet. The event runs from 10am-1.30pm; cost is £150 for two people or £85 for one.


BLKDOG, the hip hop dance production by acclaimed choreographer Botis Seva, comes to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on Tues 10 May.

WORKSHOP: Pint of Science
■ Various Guilford Locations ■ Mon 9 – Wed 11 May 
The science festival to end all science festivals, with exhibitions, talks and workshops in Guilford that focus on the most weird and wonderful subjects, like black holes, changing technologies, sustainability and much more. It should also be noted the ‘Pint’ is taken very seriously…

■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ Tues 10 May

Acclaimed choreographer Botis Seva’s beautifully brutal commentary on how the youth of today are coping in a world not built for them, told through hip hop dance.

ACTIVITY: Sunset Steam Express
■ Departs from London Victoria ■ Tuesdays 10, 17, 24, 31 May 
Tour through the Surrey Hills on the steam train of dreams, with a golden hour glow to match its splendour. Buy your own food and participate in the dining experience, or bring your own picnic and enjoy the views along the rolling countryside. Travel all the way down to Reigate before heading back on the round trip to finish off the evening. 

MUSIC: Sara Dowling – jazz vocalist
■ Cranleigh Arts Centre ■ Fri 13 May
An evening of world class jazz with Sara Dowling, voted Best Jazz Vocalist at the British Jazz Awards in 2019. Sara will be accompanied by Ross Stanley on piano, Marianne Windham on bass and Steve Brown on drums. Tickets are £25 for a table which includes a glass off wine and a cheese plate; or £21 for balcony which includes a glass of wine.

THEATRE: Animal Farm
■ Richmond Theatre, Richmond ■ Tues 10 – Sat 14 May 
See George Orwell’s infamous story re-imagined, the story of revolution and chaos in the lives of farm yard animals never fails to astonish. Directed by Broadway and Westend renowned Robert Icke, the tickets start at £13. 

EXHIBITION: Wild Surrey Art & Photography Exhibition
■ The Lightbox ■ Tues 10 – Sun 22 May 
View the varying wildlife and species of surrey through the eyes of artists, showing pieces shortlisted from the Wild Surrey Competition. Themes of animal behaviour, insects in action and wild beauty create a enchanting collection that show the simple splendour of nature. 

TALK: Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
■ Surrey History Centre, Woking ■ Wed 11 May 
Trace the history and care of the mentally ill from the 18th century up to as recent as the 1990s, viewing records of Surrey’s private and public institutions, like the Holloway Sanatorium and St Ebba’s, and gain insight into the lives of the people who received their care. 

WORKSHOP: Paint a cartoon mural
■ The Guildford Institute, Guildford ■ Thurs 12 May
You don’t have to be an artist to create an cartoon mural – it’s all about having fun! In this workshop, participants will discover how cartooning can help spark their imagination, see a new perspective and build a creative mindset. You will design and draw a cartoon mural based, working as a team. It’s on from 10am-noon, cost is £17.50.

FOOD: Fish & Street Food
■ Mandira’s Kitchen, Guilford ■ Thurs 12 May 
Learn to bring exquisite Indian street food to your kitchen, with tutorials on how to make an array of dishes, including pakoras, chutneys, spiced fish, and enjoy a celebratory drink to accompany the taste test. The session costs £90 per person. 

SCREENING: Banff Mountain Film 
■ Dorking Halls ■ Fri 13 May 
Experience the stories of film-makers and explorers and their exhilarating adventures all from the comfort of a cinema sofa, with the collection of short films from the prestigious mountain film festival. Follow explorers in their life-threatening excursions with the blockbuster cinematography of the experts. 

FOOD: Asparagus Event
■ Secretts Farm, Milford ■ Sat 14 & Sun 15 May 
Pick your own asparagus at the Secrett’s event. The home-grown crop promises explosive flavour and the satisfaction of pulling it out of the ground yourself… Enjoy a craft beer or wine as a reward and enjoy the music of the country duo ‘the Belle Adventure’. Admission is £3 per person with under 10s in free. 

ANTIQUES: Vintage Fashion Fair
■ Farnham Maltings ■ Sat 14 May
Peruse the rows and rows of stalls to find your perfect vintage piece, at affordable prices and with vast variety, you can’t leave empty handed. Entry costs £3

ACTIVITY: Artists Village Walking Tour
■ Watts Gallery ■ Sat 14 & Sat 28 May 
Learn about the gallery and village founders, GF and Mary Watts, and the architecture of the different buildings, including a Chapel, Pottery Building and the Watt’s home ‘Limnerlease’. I diversion from your standard artistic endeavour, and one that requires sensible shoes!

MUSIC: Epsom Symphony Orchestra
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Sun 15 May 
Described as an evening of light entertainment, the Symphony Orchestra will guide you through a variety of pieces, that range from a violin concerto to the Bohemian Dvorak’s Eighth symphony. Lead by conductor Darrell Davison, Tickets start at £13. 


Six: The Musical is at The Rose Theatre in Kingston from 17-29 May.

OUTDOORS: Bisley Shooting Ladies’ Day
■ Bisley Shooting Ground, near Woking ■ Mon 16 May

If you want a bit more from your next girly get-together – we’ve got a day out that will go off with a bang. Bisley Shooting Ground is hosting a ladies’ day – a relaxed and friendly day to experience the fun of sports clay shooting. The day includes breakfast, elevenses, tuition with an instructor, all clays and cartridges and a two-course lunch. Boom! 

EXHIBITION: The Covid Chronicle 
■ The Lightbox ■ Tues 17 May – Thur 19 June 
Experience Wendy Bliss’ community-based art instillation of textile panels, that helped bring artists together in spirit. The exhibition features a ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ of panels to display the pandemic and the difference experiences within it. The project is in aid of MIND, and entry is free of charge. 

■ Rose Theatre ■ Tues 17 – Sun 29 May
Watch the theatre reproduction of ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died’, in a powerful feminist retelling of Tutor history. The six wives of Henry VIII take to the stage to sing their stories and reclaim history. The juicy breakup drama of 16th century England becomes a pop-sensation.

WORKSHOP: Marbling
■ The Guildford Institute, Guildford ■ Wed 18 May
Learn the ancient technique of marbling, sometimes still called by its original Turkish name ‘Ebru’. Unique patterns are formed by floating the colours on the surface of a liquid, then laying the paper or fabric onto the colours to absorb them. It’s a half-day workshop, from 1pm-4pm, and you’ll make your own cards. Cost is £41 which includes the cost of materials.

WORKSHOP: Plant Container Workshop 
■ Windsor Great Park ■ Wed 18 – Sat 21 May 
Join the experts in a potting and planting workshop, to create your very own floral display. Choose from a variety of plants and let your inner-arranger take over in constructing your unique spectacle. 90 min workshops are available at 10am, 12pm and 2pm, at £27.50 a pot. 

MUSIC: The Blues Side of Jazz
■ The Guildford Institute, Guildford ■ Thurs 19 May

Guitarists Nicolas Meier and Pete Roth will help you discover the Blues side of Jazz. Expect to hear music by John Wes Montgomery, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and all the Jazz greats.

COMEDY: Out of the Box Comedy
■ Esher Theatre ■ Thurs 19 May 
The well-known and up-and-coming stars of comedy join together to create a showcase that is known for its friendly vibe and bucket-load of laughs. The shows start at 7.45pm and is for 18+ only! 

MUSIC: Musical Theatre Open Mic Night
■ The Electric Theatre, Guildford ■ Thurs 19 May 
Come along to watch or book to participate in the musical theatre open mic, where all likes of Heathers, Glindas, Phantoms are welcomed and celebrated for their larger-than-life skills. Performance slots are limited so do book in advance if that takes your fancy! 

THEATRE: A Room of One’s Own
■ The Horton, Epsom ■ Fri 20 May

Rebecca Vaughan performs Virginia Woolf’s 1928 exploration of the impact of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity.

WORKSHOP: 2-Day Beginners Sewing Course
■ Farnham Maltings ■ Sat 21 & Sat 28 May           
Learn how to set up a sewing machine, prep and cut fabric and finish with a few different seams, as well as incorporating zippers and buttonholes. All materials are provided, but you will need a ship shape sewing machine. 

EVENT: 90’s Revival Racing
■ Lingfield Park Resort ■ Sat 21 May 
Throwback to the 90s with the revival racing day, showing a themed tribute band and DJ, as well as a dress-code of era appropriate attire. Alongside the bombardment of nostalgia, watch 7 action-packed flat races to keep you entertained. Gates open at 3.10pm.

■ The Horton, Epsom ■ Sat 21 May 
Starring the hedgehog and turtle, both are in want of a great big hug, but can’t seem to get one all too easily. Other animals, like a naughty badger and fixated squirrel, make the task harder than it ever should be. A tale of acceptance suitable for 6 months to 4 years. 

FOOD: Surrey Hills Artisan Festival
■ Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking ■ Sat 21 & Sun 22 May 
A showcase of over 60 artisans, all of Surrey’s most exquisite food and drink producers have all come together for one weekend. Enjoy arts and crafts activities, artists in action as well as ravaging each and every food stall, of course…   

SPORT: Trust 10K run
■ Polesden Lacey, Dorking ■ Sun 22 May 
All abilities, fitness and ages are welcome (within reason of course) to the informal 10k, through Polesden and down to Ranmore Common. The run starts at 9am, so be there bring and earl, with refreshments, suitable shoes and your best go-get-em’ attitude. 

EVENT: Reigate Beer Walk
■ Chalk Hills Bakery, Reigate ■ Sun 22 May 
Follow along to experience the history of Reigate’s best brewery’s, from the early days of Mellersh and Neale, to the current Pilgrim, Crumbs and Four Hops. The 45-minute tour takes you the historic sites and into a tasting session, yes please!

FOOD: French Desserts with Oliver Thompson
■ Limpsfield Cookery School ■ Sun 22 May 
Learn the traditional technique of French confectionary, with modern twists, including an apple and rosemary tarte, rhubarb and vanilla éclair and more… c’est tres bon!


COMEDY: Bill Bailey – En Route to Normal
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Mon 23 May

The Strictly champ recounts his own experiences of dealing with isolation, including his thoughts on the ‘sounds of lockdown’. Through music, songs, and memories, Bill considers (among many other things!) our changing priorities, the wonder of dogs, how little things can keep you on track and his new-found love of skydiving.

THEATRE: Private Peaceful
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre ■ Mon 23 – Sat 28 May
Set against the backdrop of the First World War, Private Tommo Peaceful tells the story of youth, and his brother Charlie. The memories of their struggle through the loss of their father in a rural town are brought to life , and as they grow up and fall for the same girl, the issues seem to multiply..

TOUR: Royal Women
■ Claremont Landscape Garden ■ Tues 24 May
Experience the stories of the female royals who inhabited Claremont across the centuries, with extra detail paid to Princess Charlotte and Queen Victoria, and their impact on the monarchy. Refreshments are available at The Gardner’s Bothy Café, and booking is needed for the tour.

ACTIVITY: The Reptiles of Surrey 
■ Witley Common, Godalming ■ Thurs 26 May 
Any reptile lovers in the family? Or even dinosaur fanatics… it’s amazing what kids will believe. A day of lizards and snakes and more slithery creatures of the like is just the medicine. Spend the morning learning about difference species, and then head to Witley common to see them live in action. 

COMEDY: Camberley Comedy Club
■ Camberley Theatre ■ Fri 27 May
A selection of the best names in comedy, including Cerys Nelmes, David Eagles, Archie Maddocks and Rich Wilson, who work together figuring out how best to crack everyone up with their stand-up act and eye-watering anecdotes. Tickets are £17 per person 

ACTIVITY: Brush Party
■ Cranleigh Arts ■ Fri 27 May 
Any regular Picasso’s need an alcoholic-induced outlet? Join the ‘paint and sip’ experience and follow to advice of the expert artist, who will lead you to your breakthrough. All equipment is provided, all that needed is yourself and an appetite for creativity. The event costs £32 per person. 

OUTSIDE: Winkworth Weekend
■ Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming ■ Fri 27 – Sun 29 May       
Celebrate Winkworth’s 70 year national-trust anniversary, and participate in free family activities and guided walks across the grounds. Hopefully the bluebell’s last that long…

MUSIC: The Smyths
■ The Boileroom, Guildford ■ Sat 28 May

Fans of The Smiths are in for a treat this month when The Smyths roll into Surrey to play an intimate gig at The Boileroom in Guildford. More than just a tribute show, they’ve been channelling the sound and spirit of The Smiths live for almost 20 years.

ALFRESCO THEATRE: Family Cinema & Cocktails – Mama Mia
■ Merry Harriers, Hambledon ■ Sat 28 May
Mama Mia is coming to the garden at the Merry Harriers, beamed onto a 20ft screen. Lounge back on your inflatable chairs to take in this classic musical, while sipping a cocktail and tucking into dinner served in a basket. BYO blanket if you wish. Film starts at 8.30pm. Booking a must.

OUTDOORS: Guided Woodland Walks
■ Leith Hill, Dorking ■ Sat 28 May 
The Rhododendron Wood, designed by sister of Charles Darwin, Caroline Wedgewood, houses a famous falconeri and one of the largest tulip trees in the country. Embark on a tour of the grounds and a spot of cream tea to finish the day off. 

FAMILY FUN: Farmyard Antics
■ Godstone Farm ■ Sat 28 May – Mon 5 June
Spend May half term getting to see what life is like as a true farmer. Get into the grit of rural living, by mucking out straw and filling buckets, and of course pay a visit to the indoor and outdoor play areas! The activities are suitable for 2–8-year-olds, but any littluns with the farmyard flare are welcome! 

THEATRE: I Shan’t Be Home For Dinner
■ The Leatherhead Theatre ■ Sun 29 May 
One of the only successful female written war plays. Freda Falconer’s show is based on her own life and experience in a World War II R.A.F airbase alongside her husband, an R.A.F Bomber Command. Freda is brought to life by her granddaughter Elizabeth Blake, with her and the cast showing the fear, courage and love in war.

EVENTS: Sparkling Afternoon Tea
■ Albury Vineyard ■ Sun 29 May 
Join the Dabbling Duck in Albury’s afternoon tea, with a variety of confectionary and sandwiches to go around, as well as a glass of the Estate’s bubbly to wash it down! You can choose to sit inside or outside, with sittings available at 12pm and 3pm. 


Tom Hiddleston has been one of the previous mystery guests in The Play What I Wrote which comes to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford in July. But who will be the mystery guest?

FESTIVALS: Hampton Court Palace Festival
■ Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court ■ Thurs 9 – Sat 25 June
Revel in the joy of light summer evenings with a fortnight of concerts in the picturesque setting of Hampton Court. Confirmed artists include UB40, Lionel Richie, George Benson, Elbow, Jack Savoretti and Crowded House. Book tickets early as they always sell out. Some already have!

OUTDOORS: Bisley Jubilee Open Day 
■ Bisley Shooting Ground, Cottesloe Heath, Brookwood ■ Wed 1 June
What could be more quintessentially British then a spot of clay shooting in Surrey with friends and family (it’s open to adults and kids aged 10 and above)! Head into the countryside for a morning of clay pigeon shooting under the tuition of the professional instructors at Bisley. It’s a chance to try it out. Cost is £106 per person which includes breakfast and Elevenses, tuition, the use of a gun, 75 clays and cartridges… and a glass of Pimms on the lawn. Booking is a must. 

THEATRE: The Play What I Wrote
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ Mon 4 – Sat 9 July

With a mystery guest star at every performance – a spot that has previously attracted big names including Kylie Minogue, Tom Hiddleston, Sting, Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor and Joanna Lumley among others – this is said to be ‘comic genius’. Not surprisingly, it’s had rave reviews – so one to book now while you still can.

MUSIC: The Jockey Club Live 
■ Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher ■ 20 July, 27 July and 4 Aug

Already dreaming of summer? We hear ya! There’s a jam-packed schedule of concerts at Sandown Park Racecourse this year, so saddle up and book ‘em now. You can catch music legends Nile Rodgers & CHIC on 27 July, the fabulous Paloma Faith on 20 July, and Simply Red on 4 Aug. Giddy on, hot weather.

Words: Becky Ward

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