What’s on in Suffolk & Cambs this May
Mayday, Mayday! Grab those diaries sharpish because there's so much fun to be had in Suffolk and Cambs this month, you'll not want to miss a thing.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
THEATRE: Anything For Love: The Meatloaf Story, Marina Theatre Lowestoft, 28 May
This incredible production at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft is a brilliant way to celebrate the musical legend, Meatloaf, who sadly passed away earlier this year. You can rock the night away to over 25 of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman’s greatest hits, all played by a brilliant ten-piece live band. get your tickets here.
SHOWS & FESTIVALS
The Jubilee Celebrations really ramp up a gear in East Anglia this month ahead of her majesty’s special day in early June. The Festival of Suffolk 2022 is an entire series of events dedicated to the jubilee and is definitely worth getting involved in. The festival gets going this month with A New Suffolk Garland – a Suffolk Anthology inspired and compiled by The Aldeburgh Bookshop, being published on 12th May. The Queen is getting the first copy, but you can join the queue here.
Next on the agenda, a Torch Relay starting on 13th May in Brandon and travelling 588 miles around Suffolk, visiting 250 of our fabulous communities and ending at the Suffolk Show on 1st June. It’ll be like the good old days of Summer 2012, so line the streets and give the torchbearers your support. You can download the route here.
It wouldn’t be a Festival in Suffolk without some horse racing, so next on the agenda is the Festival of Suffolk Race Day on 14th May at Newmarket Racecourse. As well as cheering on the gee-gees, there will be arts and crafts stalls to browse, music acts to enjoy, and plenty to delight the kids – Suffolk Punches, fancy dress, face-painting and a Spitfire and Hurricane fly past.
To round off the month in true country celebration style, The Suffolk Show is at Trinity Park, Ipswich from 31 May – 1 June. This year there’s a special Suffolk the Platinum Years area and you can walk down the new Jubilee Avenue – home to 70 Acer Campestre ‘Queen Elizabeth’ trees planted in celebration of the The Queen’s 70 year reign. There will also be a Festival Pageant in the show ring on the second day. Not to be missed!
Not into all that pomp and circumstance? It’s not all about the Queen this month, don’t worry, there are plenty of other festivals that won’t see you manically waving Union Jacks. The Suffolk Walking Festival takes place from the 14th May – 29th May, and there are around 70 gorgeous guided walks to choose from. It’s a wonderful way to discover parts of our green and pleasant county you might not know yet. You might want to invest in some walking boots, otherwise those stilettos are going to get extremely muddy! The full programme can be viewed here.
Looking for less energetic ways to get out and about this month. How about nosying round some stunning gardens as part of the National Open Garden Scheme. There are hundreds of private and public gardens around our counties that take part in the scheme – so you can search for your nearest ones here. Some of our favourites this month include Paget House, Saxmundham, Grundisburgh House, Linton House, Netherhall Manor and Fullers Mill Garden.
Another way to enjoy spring to the max this month is at Cambridge’s Nature Festival from 27th May – 30th June. Events to add to your diary include a Cambridge Wildlife Safari Trail, small animal trapping at Wandlebury, butterfly feeding, bitterns guided walk, nature-inspired workshops at Cambridge Science Centre and much more.
So far, so wholesome on the festival front. Don’t worry our final suggestion comes with plenty of fine food and lots of alcohol! The Beccles Food and Drink Festival will take place on 28th May this year and you can expect the usual 50 or so stalls selling all manner of delightful local delicacies, as well as cookery demos, talks and entertainment for the kids.
May the 4th be with you. Well, let’s make that 30th April – 2nd May be with you and not get het up with minor details. If you have any Stars Wars fans in your midst they’ll love the Rumble Live Star Wars Event in Marlow Park at Grafham Water. If you haven’t been before, Rumble Live is a brilliant live action version of your classic video games that gets kids off screens and out and about in nature. It combines elements of paintball with contactless laser tag in eight acres of woodland. The Star Wars special will see players aged 8+ fighting stormtroopers and even a pesky Jawa.
Smaller kids to entertain? They’ll love a trip to The Cambridge Arts Theatre to see gentle George and his animal friends in Julia Donaldson’s The Smartest Giant in Town from the 4th – 8th May.
What’s that? Another half term looming already! Yes, we’ve only just recovered from Easter and it’s time to entertain the kids again. Thankfully Framlingham Castle has come up trumps with a Jubilee-inspired event with Queen Mary Tudor returning to the castle and the chance to find out why she got her nickname, ‘Bloody Mary’.
Another fabulous idea for half term is to get your budding chef booked into Cambridge’s Sticks’n’Sushi’s Kids Sushi Class on 29th May. Suitable for 8 – 12 year olds, it’s win-win for parents – kids are entertained and they might even make you sushi at home afterwards!
Supporting an excellent cause by eating delicious food. Now that sounds like our sort of thing. You can do just that at The Willow Tree Bourn’s Dine4Ukraine Fundraiser Night on 12th May. You’ll enjoy a delicious four-course meal inspired by traditional Ukrainian flavours with accompanying entertainment. There’s the option to join for lunch or dinner. Tickets can be purchased here.
What better way to celebrate the Queen than with a posh afternoon tea? The Swan at Lavenham has to be one of the most heavenly places to enjoy this foodie pastime and they’ve even launched a special royal tea in her Majesty’s honour. The Jubilee ‘Fit for a Queen’ tea is available from 21st May and include some of Elizabeth’s personal favourite sweet and savoury treats, all washed down with Champagne of course.
Still Hungry? Book yourself in to a secret supper club this month. Hidden by Puddini in Willingham has two coming up on the 6th May and 19th May. The first is a collaboration with Wylde Sky Brewery from Linton with a four course meal cooked by Ben Sulston paired with beers. The 19th is called Small Plates and Wine Tasting with Noel Young.
MUSIC & COMEDY
Looking for the fun this month? Then you’ll want to snap up tickets to the best music and comedy in our midst starting with playing your air guitar along to master Guitarist Albert Lee (you know the guy that’s only played with everyone from The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris and The Cricketts) on the 20th May at The Maltings in Ely.
At the other end of the music scale, there’s a magical evening of classical music taking place in the stunning surrounding of St Edmundsbury Cathedral on 28th May. Into The Light celebrates 1000 years of Bury’s Abbey with The Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra playing Britten’s Fanfare for St Edmundsbury amongst other English greats.
Classical music lovers in Cambridge will want to save a space in their diary for Cambridge Philharmonic playing Libby Larsen’s Alaska Spring, Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 2 at West Road Concert Hall on 21st May.
For a good old belly laugh head to the Cambridge Junction on 21st May to enjoy the Jesterlarf Comedy Club. The show celebrates 20 years of the club with headliner Tom Davis introducing amazing acts like Geoff Norcott, Suzi Ruffell, and Dinesh Nathan.
The Society of East Anglian Watercolourists (SEAW) Spring Exhibition takes places in the Old Goods Shed in Clare Castle Country Park this May, starting on the 7th, showing stunning paintings of the local area.
Love horses? Then you’ll want to see the new exhibition from one of the finest painters of horses at the National Horseracing Museum – Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959): A Life of his Own. The exhibition opens on 24th May and runs (or should that be gallops?) until 12th June. It’s a rare opportunity to see around forty paintings, watercolours and drawings spanning his 60 year career.
Don’t miss Ely Cathedral’s new exhibition that runs from 27th April – 29th May. After The Fall looks at the collapse of the cathedral’s central tower in 1322 which led to the creation of the current extraordinary and unique Octagon. Over 100 artworks will be on display, executed in a variety of media and sizes by 18 artists.
Back to the Jubilee and this time we’re at IWM Duxford from 27th May onwards with a Platinum Jubilee exhibition that explores the role of The Royal Family in conflict, tracing The Queen’s personal experience of war with an aircraft and object trail and a large-scale projection of recently digitised film from IWM’s archive. The IWM are also publishing a new book on 12th May showcasing royal images from their collection.
IWM Duxford also has one of its fabulous Flying Days coming up on 7th May to celebrate VE Day. Flying Days: VE Day will see the most incredible war planes soar above the Cambridgeshire skies as well as entertainment on the ground and a street party that will see you step back in time to 1945.
THEATRE & CINEMA
Top of my theatre wishlist this month is An Afternoon in Conversation with Dame Judi Dench on 29th May at The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, although Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Cambridge’s Arts Theatre from the 10th – 21st May comes in a very close second. Apologies in advance for my terrible singing along to (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might as Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof and The Locomotion!
Also at the Arts Theatre this month is a new production of Broadway thriller Catch Me If You Can starring Dallas legend Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl from 23 – 28 May, and Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna)’s show The Man Behind the Mask is on the 31st May.
If you want to enjoy some culture as a family, then Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers at The Junction on the 8th May will be enjoyable for everyone. Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers is a thrilling story delivered through performance, games and creative play all based around Roald Dahl’s much-loved stories, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and The Twits.
Cambridge’s Town and Gown have a brilliant line-up this month. Tops picks include a rather topical play about The Soviet Union in 1967 at the height of the Space Race called Tales from Star City on 10th and 11th May. At the other end of the spectrum there’s also The Secret Cabaret Club on the 14th May, full of sexy, sassy and fabulous cabaret-style performances.
Finally, there are two chances to catch one of the nation’s best-loved poets, Lemn Sissay in our region this month. The first in Bury at The Apex on 4th May and the second at The Arts Theatre in Cambridge on 22nd May. Lemn will read from his Sunday Times bestselling memoir, reflecting on a childhood in care, self- expression and Britishness, and in doing so, exploring the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home.
With the warmer weather we’re happy to say comes the return of al fresco cinema. On the 20th May Cambridge’s market square is transformed into an outdoor cinema, showing Encanto (seriously, one of the best modern Disney films!), as well as Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Oh and did we mention it’s free!
Back in Suffolk, the Lavenham Players are staging a musical comedy on 20 and 21 May at Monks Eleigh village hall. Saving Face is written by local Lavenham resident, Alison Parkes, with original music by Alison and another Lavenham resident, Nigel Ashcroft. Expect a humorous and thought provoking musical comedy about relationships, politics, ambition and disappointment.
Don’t miss the many varied and family-friendly events across Cambridgeshire this month as part of The Library Presents. Roald Off The Tongue is on my list, as is Oldilocks and the Three Bears, and the Kakatsitsi Master Drummers.
Other arty events for your diary this month are the Beccles Antiques Street Market on 1st May and the Woodbridge Arts Market also on 1st May.
Other cool happenings nearby
The 250th Norfolk and Norwich Festival
The Norfolk and Norwich Festival is celebrating its 250th anniversary – nope, we didn’t add an extra ‘0’ on there – between 13-29 May. Whether your bag is music, drama, literature, art or even circus performance, there’s going to be a ridiculous amount of cool stuff to choose from.
Perhaps the most spectacular is Dominoes, a piece of “moving sculpture” which will see thousands of giant breezeblocks travelling through the city like a line of falling, well, dominoes. Other highlights will include camp, chaotic circus act Barbu at the pop-up Adnams Speigeltent between 18-29 May, a family-friendly Garden Party in Chapelfield Gardens on 21 and 22 May and Signal at Dusk – a site-specific sound installation in Great Yarmouth on 27 and 28 May.
We also can’t resist the sound of of Astrology Bingo, “the universe’s first ever cosmic game show for astrology lovers, bingo wingers and their sceptic friends,” which will be on at the Speigeltent on 23 and 24 May.
CRAFT FAIR: Living Crafts, Hatfield Park, 5-8 May
If you love to craft and discover gorgeous handmade pieces for your home, to wear and to give as gifts, then you won’t want to miss the ultimate craft-lovers fair coming to Hatfield Park this month. Find out more about this four-day crafty extravaganza here and enter our reader treat to win tickets and afternoon tea (before 29 April).