Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve are pleased to bring forward proposals for developing a new visitor centre at the nature reserve.

The development would be a new high quality centre to provide information, education and refreshment facilities on the nature reserve.

We want to hear your views on our proposals, so during July we are holding a series of drop-in consultations sessions at the following locations;

  • Tuesday 4 July 2017, 2pm-5.30pm, Rye Harbour Village Hall, Rye Harbour Road, Rye Harbour, TN31 7TR
  • Tuesday 11 July, 2pm-5.30pm, Winchelsea New Hall, Rectory Lane, Winchelsea, TN36 4AA
  • Thursday 13 July, 2pm-5.30pm, Rye Town Hall, Market Street, Rye, TN31 7LA

For more on the plans, click here

There are six concerts in the regular subscription season,  a special afternoon concert with Holocaust Survivor, Zdenka Fantlova in October 2017, and a concert in December 2017 in memory of Tom Harris. Subscription tickets and tickets for individual events are available at


Saturday 1st July 2017 at 7.30pm
Glitter and be Gay


Enjoy an evening of musical theatre with a cast of actor-singers from both the West End and London Fringe.  The programme will include solo and ensemble numbers from many famous shows, by composers ranging from Stephen Sondheim to Leonard Bernstein and Cole Porter.  New work by contemporary writers will also feature, including material written by musical directors Colm Molloy and Ed Zanders, composition graduates from Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


Saturday 2nd September 2017 at 7.30pm
Mark Nixon piano,  Katie Lockhart clarinet
 & Rudi de Groote cello

The repertoire for this concert will include trios, duets and solo pieces for the combination of clarinet, cello and piano.  The performers will bring a wealth of musical talent to Winchelsea. Katie has a busy and varied freelance career playing as a guest in many of the country’s orchestras, with conductors and directors including  Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Antonio Pappano.  Mark is a most versatile pianist who has performed as concerto soloist with all the South African orchestras, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and with several orchestras in England.  Rudi De Groote is currently principal cello with English National Opera. As a soloist and in chamber music he has performed throughout the UK, Europe, the far east and in the USA, and has worked closely with Jorg Widmann, Isabelle van Keulen, Robert Cohen, Gabor Takacz and the Chilingirian and Belcea String Quartets.


Friday 10th November 2017 at 7.30pm
Chiyan Wong  piano

Young UK-based pianist Chiyan Wong has been astonishing audiences with the sincerity and sheer authority of his playing. He made his debut with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 2 (April 2016) and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in Liszt and Beethoven (November 2016) where he has been re-invited.  ‘Chiyan Wong is an exciting, original and thoughtful pianist. Nothing sounds ‘bought in; everything sounds freshly but not self-consciously conceived.’ Stephen Hough.  ‘Chiyan Wong has a sincerity as a person which he applies to his music-making, and that is very rare these days.’ Kun-Woo Paik.


Saturday 24th February 2018 at 7.30pm
Niall O’Riordan flute & Anne Marshall piano

Described by critics as ‘dazzling’, ‘tonally ravishing and technically flawless’ (British Flute Society) Irish flutist Niall O’Riordan enjoys an international career as soloist and teacher.  In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious rising star award by Sir James Galway at the Galway International Flute Festival, Weggis, Switzerland and was presented with a 14k gold headjoint by Nagahara Flutes, Boston.  South African born pianist Anne Marshall has established herself as a leading accompanist based in south east England. Anne is a regular accompanist for Sir James Galway and often appears in concert with him, including Adams Flute Festival in the Netherlands, Sherborne Abbey Festival in the UK and the Slovenian Flute Festival.


Saturday 24th March 2018 at 7.30pm
Ruth Eichenseher cello
& Luis Castillo Briceño piano

Ruth has been learning the cello since the age of seven.  At the age of twelve she performed the Elgar Cello Concerto and the Rococo Variations by Tchaikovsky as a soloist in Prague and Budapest, Roccastrada, Boston and Michigan.  She is currently studying with Prof. Orfeo Mandozzi at the Zurich University of Arts.  Her accompanist, Luis, is also currently studying music in Zurich. He has won several competitions and attended many master classes with renowned pianists, as well as performing in a large number of high profile venues, including the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York.   Ruth is the winner of the Winchelsea Arts prize in the New Stars International Music Competition. Winchelsea Arts is delighted to be supporting this exciting competition for young musicians in its inaugural year.


Saturday 19th May 2018 at 7.30pm
Giancarlo Staffetti  piano

Giancarlo was a close friend of Thomas Harris and they both studied with Cristina Ortiz, who very kindly performed a Winchelsea Arts concert in Thomas’s memory in 2016.  This acclaimed pianist was born in Brazil.  He studied composition and piano at the State University of Campinas before moving to France where he is now preparing for a Master’s degree at l’Université Paris VIII.



Sunday 15th October 2017 at 3pm
Life is Wonderful!
How I survived the Holocaust

Zdenka Fantlova, a 95 year old Holocaust Survivor talks of the power of endurance and love as she defied the brutalisation and humiliation during World War II, surviving six concentration camps. Her story is extremely moving but positive. Her audiences sit riveted to her every word and leave uplifted and inspired by her She leaves a lasting impression on young and old alike. The artistic community of Terezín concentration camp consisted of musicians, composers, conductors, actors and artists, writers and directors, most of whom were then shipped to the gas chambers. Zdenka is the last survivor of this performing community. To honour the memory of those creative artists, a group of musicians led by Ani Schnarch and Itamar Rashkovsky will perform a programme which will include pieces composed and performed at concentration camps such as Terezín where Zdenka herself was an actress.

This is not included in the subscription series of concerts.


Saturday 16th December 2017 at 7.30pm
L’Octuor de France
Concert in celebration of the life of Tom Harris

We are delighted that this famous octet are travelling from France to perform at a special concert celebrating the life of the extremely talented musician Thomas Harris.

Booking will open for this concert on 1st October. It is not included in the subscription series of concerts.

Plants and other good stuff will be on sale at the Mayor’s Coffee Morning in aid of ARRCC

10.30am on Saturday 27th May in the Court Hall, High Street, Winchelsea

Winchelsea Museum is displaying the newly-restored Coronation Waistcoat

Winchelsea Museum have spent £1400 on the restoration of the beautiful silk waistcoat, which is an important part of the Museum’s display. The waistcoat has been with The Conservancy Trust in Rolvenden for the conservation to be carried out.

The waistcoat was worn at the present Queen’s Coronation in 1953 by the Mayor of that time Anthony Mallows Freeman (below). We have evidence that it was also worn at the Coronation of King George VI  in 1937.

In 1937, the Confederation of the Cinque Ports applied to ‘The Court of Claims’ to be allowed to exercise their right, known as ‘Honours of Court’ to be represented at the Coronation. The Lord Warden at the time, The Marquis of Willingdon was notified that 18 representatives might take part in the ceremony. We know that Mayor John Addison- Burke and Captain Edwin Plomley Dawes who was the Town Clerk of Winchelsea & Rye were given two places. We have evidence of the Town Clerk, Edwin Plomley Dawes wearing the waistcoat, which suggests that possibly the waistcoat was purchased by him for King George VI’s Coronation, and passed on to Anthony Mallows Freeman to wear at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Ancient tradition states that the Confederation Barons should carry canopies over the King and Queen. However, since the Coronation of King George IV when the Barons got rather drunk and the carrying of the canopy was rather precarious, the canopy is not carried anymore. Today the Barons line the aisles of Westminster Abbey and as the Royal procession passes they receive the standards. After the procession has passed into the choir, the Barons march out into the aisles and exchange places with those on the other side. At the end of the ceremony they hand the standards back.

Saturday 20th May 2017 sees the final concert of the Second Season of Winchelsea Arts.  An exciting new third season will be launched this month.

Tickets are available online from the Winchelsea Arts website

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company return with ‘The Commercial Traveller’ on 18th June 2017

The very popular company will be coming back to St Thomas’ Primary School field again this summer after their very successful debut here last year. The show will be on Saturday 18th June at 7.30pm.  You won’t want to miss it if you have seen them before. They have a brand new play with live music called ‘The Commercial Traveller’. Funny, romantic and moving, it demonstrates the gritty determination to overcome an apparently unassailable problem through absolute love.

Full details about booking at