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Chichester Festival Theatre – complete Festival 2021 announcement

The Long Song

Four new productions to follow South Pacific in Chichester’s Festival 2021 have today been announced by Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne. 

Two world premieres: 

THE LONG SONG, a new adaptation by Suhayla El-Bushra based on  Andrea Levy’s novel, directed by Charlotte Gwinner 

THE FLOCK by Zoe Cooper, directed by Guy Jones 

Revivals of two great modern dramas:  

Rachel O’Riordan directs Martin McDonagh’s THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF  LEENANE in a co-production with Lyric Hammersmith Theatre 

HOME by David Storey, directed by Josh Roche 

Full cast and streaming dates announced for Daniel Evans’s new production of  Rodgers & Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC 

Open Air Weekend and Minerva Cabaret in June 

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of PINOCCHIO by Anna Ledwich  returns for Christmas 2021 

New partnership with Ecologi offering patrons option to carbon-offset travel as part  of CFT’s green strategy 

Tickets held at 2019 prices; 14,500 tickets at £10 in the Festival Theatre and 6,000 £5  PROLOGUE tickets for 16 – 30 year olds  

Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne said: 

‘We’re delighted to announce four new productions to add to our summer musical, South  Pacific. The Long Song, Suhayla El-Bushra’s new adaptation of Andrea Levy’s great novel,  follows South Pacific into the Festival Theatre, while Zoe Cooper’s new play The Flock joins  Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane (in a co-production with the Lyric  Hammersmith) and David Storey’s Home in a stimulating line-up in the Minerva Theatre. 

‘These plays – each with a director new to CFT at the helm – take us from the South Pacific to  Jamaica, rural Ireland, the North-East of England and back to the Home Counties. All engage, in varying ways, with the differences that divide us – from racial prejudice to warring families,  social mores and conflicting beliefs – and whether tolerance and understanding can bring us  together. 

‘And before we open the Festival Theatre in July, we look forward to welcoming audiences to  our Open Air Weekend in Oaklands Park with socially distanced picnic plots for all the family. 

‘Our commitment to our local community has remained undimmed over the past year. If  anything, this work has grown and deepened, notably through initiatives such as Young Carers  Connect, and this – alongside our greatly expanded digital presence – will continue. 

‘While we’re all looking forward to a thoroughly good night out, it is important we welcome  audiences back safely. We’re continuing to offer a choice of socially distanced performances in  both theatres in July and August. And everyone can book with confidence, knowing that should  we have to cancel, they’ll be entitled to a full refund. 

‘After a challenging year, we can’t wait to reopen our doors – and to see Chichester  productions reaching audiences far beyond West Sussex again. In addition to our film of Crave (streaming 18 – 29 May), Caroline, Or Change is now scheduled for New York in the autumn  and Singin’ in the Rain splashes down in London later this summer.’ 

FESTIVAL 2021 PRODUCTIONS – JULY TO OCTOBER 

Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden,  

Joanna Ampil, Keir Charles and Rob Houchen in 

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 

SOUTH PACIFIC 

Music by Richard Rodgers 

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II 

Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan 

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener Directed by Daniel Evans 

5 July – 4 September 2021, live in the Festival Theatre 

Streamed as live on 4, 9, 14, 18, 21, 26, 31 August & 3 September 

Press performance: Tuesday 13 July at 7.00pm 

The full company has been confirmed for Daniel Evans’s new production of Rodgers &  Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Led by Gina Beck (Matilda, Show Boat, Wicked, Phantom of  the Opera) as Nellie, Julian Ovenden (Bridgerton, Downton Abbey, Merrily We Roll Along,  Grand Hotel, BBC Proms) as Emile, Joanna Ampil (Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon)  as Bloody Mary, Keir Charles (Quiz, Back To Life) as Luther Billis and Rob Houchen (Les  Misérables, The Light in the Piazza) as Cable, it also includes Iroy Abesamis, Lindsay  Atherton, Carl Au, Rosanna Bates, David Birrell, Leslie Garcia Bowman, Taylor  Bradshaw, Bobbie Chambers, Charlotte Coggin, Danny Collins, Oliver Edward, Sergio  Giacomelli, Shailan Gohil, Adrian Grove, Zack Guest, Cameron Bernard Jones, Amanda  Lindgren, Matthew Maddison, Sera Maehara (as Liat), Melissa Nettleford, Rachel Jayne  Picar, Kate Playdon, Pierce Rogan, Clancy Ryan, Charlie Waddell and James Wilkinson Jones, with children’s roles played by Lana Lakha, Kami Lieu, David Ngara O’Dwyer and  Alexander Quinlan. 

This much-loved, Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical opened in 1949 to huge success,  becoming one of Broadway’s longest running hit shows. It boasts one of Rodgers &  Hammerstein’s most memorable scores, featuring songs such as Some Enchanted Evening,  I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Bali Ha’i.

  1. On an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, US troops are kicking their heels amid the cacao groves while restlessly waiting for the war to reach them.

Nellie Forbush, a navy nurse from Arkansas, finds herself falling for the French plantation  owner, Emile de Becque – a man with a mysterious past. The scheming sailor Luther Billis runs  a makeshift laundry to earn a quick buck, but he’s no match for the Polynesian Bloody Mary  who’s intent on exploiting these foreigners. 

When young Princeton graduate Lieutenant Joe Cable is flown in on a dangerous  reconnaissance mission, love and fear become entwined as the island’s battle for hearts and  minds begins. 

The production is directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous Chichester  productions include This Is My Family, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof.  

The set and costume designer is Peter McKintosh, and the choreographer and movement  director is Ann Yee. Musical supervision is by Nigel Lilley, with musical direction by Cat  Beveridge, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound  design by Paul Groothuis, video design by Gillian Tan, additional arrangements by Theo  Jamieson, and casting by Charlotte Sutton.  

South Pacific will be streamed as live on selected dates in August and September, visit  website for details. One performance of South Pacific each week will be socially distanced. There will be a Dementia Friendly performance on 1 September at 2.30pm, welcoming  individuals living with dementia, as well as their friends, families and carers. 

South Pacific is sponsored by R.L. Austen 

THE FLOCK 

A new play by Zoe Cooper 

Directed by Guy Jones 

6 – 28 August, Minerva Theatre 

Press night: Thursday 12 August 

The parishioners of All Hallows Church are putting on a production of Noah’s Ark, one of a  cycle of mystery plays performed by all the local parishes. The Bishop is hopeful the project will  help paper over the cracks revealed by an unfortunate incident involving an evangelical, a glass  of wine and an angry liberal. 

Rory, All Hallows’ vicar, wants to keep a low profile, and his partner Simon is happy to provide  musical accompaniment but would rather he wasn’t given any lines, thank you very much. 

The congregation, however, have other plans. For Patricia, the show is an opportunity to show  off the church’s artistic talents, while the curate, Hannah, hopes it will give her a chance to get  to know the parishioners better. Meanwhile, Fin becomes ever more infuriated at Rory’s hands off approach and teenager Erin just hopes that this is a family where she might find a home. 

Above all, Rory wants to keep the ship – and his relationship – afloat. Can this battered vessel  still offer its clergy and congregation sanctuary in the storm? 

Compassionate and funny, The Flock depicts the bumpy road to inclusion for this community,  asking how we can live and worship alongside one another when our differences are so  marked. How do we remain together when we’re so far apart?

Zoe Cooper’s plays include the award-winning Jess and Joe Forever, and Out of  Water (Orange Tree/RSC) which – directed by Guy Jones – was a Susan Smith Blackburn  Prize finalist and shortlisted for the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. 

Selina Cadell (Patricia) makes a welcome return to Chichester, where her appearances  include The Dresser and The Government Inspector. Her theatre work also includes People and The Habit of Art (National Theatre) and Humble Boy (Orange Tree), while her extensive TV  roles include Mrs Tishell in all 10 series of Doc Martin

The Flock will be designed by Natasha Jenkins, with lighting by Zoe Spurr, sound design by  Alexandra Faye Braithwaite and casting by Charlotte Sutton. 

One performance each week will be socially distanced

The Flock is sponsored by Genesis Town Planning. 

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE 

By Martin McDonagh 

Directed by Rachel O’Riordan 

A co-production with Lyric Hammersmith Theatre 

3 September – 2 October, Minerva Theatre 

Press night: Thursday 9 September 

In the mountains of Connemara, County Galway, Maureen Folan – a plain, lonely woman, tied  to her manipulative and ageing mother, Mag – comes alive at her first and possibly last  prospect of a loving relationship. But Mag has other ideas; and her interference sets in motion a  train of events that leads inexorably towards the play’s breathtaking conclusion. 

Rachel O’Riordan directs a major revival of this darkly comic, award-winning play by Martin  McDonagh, whose work includes the films Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and In  Bruges; and the plays The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and Hangmen

Ingrid Craigie plays Mag. Her many credits include Sweet Bird of Youth (CFT), The Cripple of  Inishmaan (West End/Broadway) and TV’s Roadkill. Kwaku Fortune (Line of Duty, Normal  People) makes his Chichester debut as Ray. 

Rachel O’Riordan is Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and formerly of Cardiff’s  Sherman Theatre. Her directing credits include Tanika Gupta’s adaptation of A Doll’s House (Lyric) and the Olivier Award-winning Killology (Sherman/Royal Court). 

The production will be designed by Good Teeth Theatre, with lighting designed by Kevin  Treacy, music and sound designed by Anna Clock, and casting by Sam Stevenson

Suitable for ages 14+ 

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a co-production with Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, where it will  play immediately following its Chichester run, from 9 October – 6 November. 

At Chichester, the production is sponsored by ITD Consultants.

 THE LONG SONG 

A new adaptation by Suhayla El-Bushra 

Based on the novel by Andrea Levy 

Directed by Charlotte Gwinner 

1 – 23 October, Festival Theatre 

Press night: Thursday 7 October 

‘You do not know me yet but I am the heroine of this drama. I am told that here I must give a  taste of what is to unfold. I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent  days of slavery and the early years of freedom. 

‘I was born a slave upon a sugar plantation named Amity. I was there when the Baptist War  raged in 1831, and when slavery was declared no more. It tells of my mama Kitty, of the  negroes enslaved, of Caroline Mortimer the woman who owned me. I am to say that it is a true  and thrilling journey through that unsettled time. 

‘Cha, I say, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just see it for themselves.’ 

Miss July is born into slavery in Jamaica and is brutally parted from both her mother, and her  name. But what she retains is resilience, charisma and a subversive, spirited wit. This ebullient  and life-affirming play finds humanity, resistance and hope in the darkest of times.  

The Long Song is adapted from Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel by Suhayla El-Bushra,  formerly writer in residence at the National Theatre Studio and whose work includes The  Suicide (NT), Arabian Nights (Lyceum, Edinburgh), and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and Ackley  Bridge

Director Charlotte Gwinner was Associate Director at the Bush Theatre, Liverpool Everyman  & Playhouse and Sheffield Theatres 2014-16, where her productions included Waiting for  Godot, the Sarah Kane season and The Distance. 

The production will be designed by Frankie Bradshaw, with lighting by Mark Doubleday,  musical direction, vocal arrangements and additional composition by Michael Henry, sound by  Helen Skiera, video by Dick Straker, movement by Angela Gasparetto, fights by Kev  McCurdy and casting by Charlotte Sutton with Chandra Ruegg

The Long Song is sponsored by Seaward and by Wiley. 

HOME 

By David Storey 

Directed by Josh Roche 

8 October – 6 November, Minerva Theatre 

Press night: Wednesday 13 October 

Harry and Jack. Marjorie and Kathleen. Alfred. 

In a neglected garden, small talk oscillates between the weather, the neighbours,  reminiscences of friends and family, and anecdotes of past exploits in love and war.  

But this quintet of characters, with their foibles and failings, are not what they seem to be, and  nor is their home. And overhead, the clouds are gathering. 

David Storey’s award-winning 1970 play has become a modern classic – a heartrendingly  funny, haunting and deeply humane study of hearts, minds and England: islands adrift.

Director Josh Roche won the JMK Award for his production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie at  the Young Vic with Erin Doherty in the title role. He has directed productions for Audible UK,  BBC Arts, and has worked extensively at the RSC and Shakespeare’s Globe. He is the co founder of OpenHire. 

The production designer will be Sophie Thomas, with casting by Charlotte Sutton. 

Other members of the creative team will be appointed in accordance with OpenHire’s principles  of publicly advertising freelance opportunities and a transparent recruitment process. 

Home is sponsored by Henry Adams. 

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre 

PINOCCHIO 

A new adaptation by Anna Ledwich 

Music by Tom Brady 

From the original novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi 

Directed by Dale Rooks 

18 December – 1 January, Festival Theatre 

Press night: Wednesday 22 December 

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s brand new version of this classic tale by Anna Ledwich had just 15 live performances in 2020 before it was streamed globally during lockdown. It  returns for Christmas 2021 again directed by Dale Rooks, who brings her trademark visual flair  and gift for storytelling to this darkly magical reinvention. 

Geppetto the boatmaker tosses aside a piece of wood; it’s only good for the fire. To his  amazement, a voice answers him back. Geppetto picks up the wood and begins to carve – and  a small wooden boy is revealed. A puppet, which he names Pinocchio. 

And that’s when the mayhem begins. Pinocchio can’t stop getting into trouble, despite the best  efforts of the Fairy and the Cricket to keep him on track. His intentions may be good – he truly  wants to go to school like real boys and girls – but the temptation to discover the wonders of  the world and make his fortune keep getting in the way.  

Pinocchio encounters a host of fascinating characters, from Punch and Judy to the wily Fox  and Cat and the strange Sea Monster, as he journeys to Wonderland and the world beneath  the sea. But he discovers that it isn’t easy hiding the truth – especially when your nose gets  longer with every lie you tell… 

The set is designed by Simon Higlett, with costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by  James Whiteside, musical direction by Colin Billing and sound by Gregory Clarke

Recommended for ages 7+. There will be a Relaxed performance of Pinocchio on 23  December at 2pm, and a Polish-translated performance on 22 December at 2pm. 

Pinocchio is sponsored by Henry Adams and by Mercer. 

OPEN AIR WEEKEND, CRAVE, MINERVA CABARET & FESTIVAL 2021 EVENTS  Carly Bawden, Ako Mitchell and Sharon Rose are among the West End stars who’ll be  appearing at CFT’s Concerts in the Park from 3 – 6 June, part of CFT’s Open Air Weekend.  CBBC BAFTA Award-winner Emily Burnett headlines Family Fun in the Park on 4 & 5 June. 

There’s also another chance for audiences at home to experience a specially made film of the  production that defied lockdown. Directed by Tinuke Craig, Sarah Kane’s Crave was live streamed to thousands in 50 countries around the globe as the cast of four performed in  Chichester Festival Theatre’s empty auditorium. This film is a new edit of the live stream, with  remastered sound and incorporating new footage, available to watch from 18 – 29 May. 

Before we open Festival 2021, two highly acclaimed companies return for a mini Cabaret  season at the Minerva Theatre in June. Following their sold-out runs in the 2019 Spiegeltent  season, The Black Cat Cabaret presents Salon des Artistes (10-12 June) and there’s another  chance to see Barely Methodical Troupe’s Bromance (17-19 June). 

A lively programme of talks and activities will complement Festival 2021. Highlights include an  interview with Kate Mosse on her personal story of being a carer; discussions on Martin  McDonagh’s international range, and the legacy of Andrea Levy; the NT Connections 2021 South East festival; and DigitAll, our annual celebration of performances created by people  with additional needs, which moves online. 

Free Pre- and Post-Show Discussions, with the director and cast members, are held for each  production. 

TREE PLANTING AND CARBON OFF-SETTING 

CFT is currently developing a new and robust green strategy which will set a pathway for the Theatre to reach carbon net zero, led by our staff ‘Green Committee’ who champion our  sustainability agenda and develop new initiatives. 

From 2021, one of the ways in which we will reduce our impact is by supporting tree planting  projects locally and internationally. In place of traditional opening night gifts and cards, we will  plant a tree for each production to support local tree planting initiatives. We began in 2020 with  the planting of five trees in Oaklands Park, in partnership with Chichester District Council, to  celebrate our Youth Theatre production, Pinocchio

We encourage patrons and staff to minimise car travel, but recognise that driving to the theatre  may be the only available option for some. We have established a partnership with UK social  enterprise Ecologi to offer audience members the option to carbon-offset the impact of their  journey, at the point of purchasing a ticket. All contributions go directly to Ecologi to support  carbon off-setting projects and international tree-planting programmes. Carbon off-setting is just  a small part of what we’re doing, and needs to work alongside other meaningful action to cut  our carbon emissions. 

BOOKING INFORMATION 

Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens: 

Saturday 22 May (online and booking forms only) 

Tuesday 25 May (phone and in person) 

Booking for Groups and Schools opens: 

Thursday 27 May 

General booking opens: 

Saturday 29 May (online only) 

Tuesday 1 June (phone and in person) 

cft.org.uk Box Office 01243 781312 

Tickets from £10  

Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 30s

6,000 £5 tickets are available for 16 to 30 year-olds for all productions throughout Festival  2021; sign up for free at cft.org.uk/prologue. Members also have access to a range of  exclusive events. 

Twitter @ChichesterFT Facebook ChichesterFestivalTheatre 

Instagram ChichesterFT YouTube ChichesterTheatre 

#Festival2021  

Chichester Festival Theatre reopens with SOUTH PACIFIC and a film of CRAVE

Crave

Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne announced today that Chichester Festival Theatre will reopen its doors with its summer musical: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC, running from 5 July – 4 September.

 Before then, a film of Sarah Kane’s CRAVE, created from Tinuke Craig’s acclaimed production, will be available to watch on demand in May.
 
CFT is also planning a weekend of open air concerts and family events in Oaklands Park in early June.
 
Kathy Bourne and Daniel Evans said:
 
‘Seldom can a summer have been as eagerly anticipated as this one. We are so proud and thankful to be able to say: we are re-opening, we will be producing work on our stages and digitally, and we will continue to serve our community of audiences and theatre-makers.
 
‘We know that Chichester’s summer musical is a highlight of the year for people locally, regionally and nationally. South Pacific should have been the centrepiece of Festival 2020; we couldn’t be more thrilled that it will finally open this July, with a superb cast and creative team who’ve waited a year to bring it to fruition.
 
‘We’re also delighted to offer a specially made film of our Autumn highlight, Sarah Kane’s Crave – giving audiences around the globe a second chance to see Tinuke Craig’s revelatory production.
 
‘While South Pacific will initially be booking with a reduced capacity auditorium and a dedicated socially distanced performance every week, our hope is that, later in 2021, we will see the return of non-socially distanced audiences with a renewed confidence and appetite for live performance. We’ll announce further productions for Festival 2021 later this spring.’
 
Currently, Step 4 of the government’s roadmap anticipates the removal of all legal limits on social contact and the reopening of full theatre auditoriums from 21 June, subject to successful pilot test events taking place in April and May. Accordingly, South Pacific will go on sale with a reduced capacity auditorium (approximately 900, as opposed to 1300) in order to ease congestion in the foyers and public spaces, with a view to moving to full capacity as soon as government guidelines permit. Enhanced cleaning, hand sanitising and the wearing of face coverings at all times in the Theatre will be in place.
 
In addition, there will be one specially designated socially distanced performance every week – complete with the Covid-safety measures introduced last autumn, including timed arrivals and temperature checks – for those audience members who would prefer to remain socially distanced for the foreseeable future.
 
 CRAVE
By Sarah Kane 
Streaming worldwide: opening night 18 May at 7.30pm BST, on demand from 19 – 29 May
 
A chance for audiences at home to experience a specially made film of the production that defied lockdown. Sarah Kane’s Crave was live streamed to thousands in 50 countries around the globe as the cast of four performed in an empty auditorium. This film is a new edit of the live stream, with remastered sound and incorporating new footage from filmmaker Ravi Deepres.
 
In a damaged world, four characters search for the light. This heart-rending, funny, kind and cruel meditation on the meaning of love resonated with audiences looking to reconnect after the loneliness and seclusion inflicted by a global pandemic.
 
The opening night performance will be followed by a live post-show talk with members of the company.
 
Erin DohertyAlfred Enoch, Wendy Kweh and Jonathan Slinger are the cast in Tinuke Craig’s production, which is designed byAlex Lowde, with lighting by Joshua Pharo, composition and sound by Anna Clock, film by Ravi Deepres, movement by Jenny Ogilvie and casting by Charlotte Sutton. Filmed by The Umbrella Rooms.
 
Contains strong language; suitable for ages 16+.
Crave is sponsored by Genesis.
 
 
Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden,
Joanna Ampil, Keir Charles and Rob Houchen in
 
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s
SOUTH PACIFIC
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan
Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
 
Directed by Daniel Evans
5 July – 4 September 2021, live in the Festival Theatre
Press performance: Tuesday 13 July at 7.00pm
 
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific will be Chichester Festival Theatre’s summer musical for 2021, running from 5 July – 4 September, with a press night on Tuesday 13 July. The production will also be streamed online, dates to be announced.
 
Daniel Evans directs an outstanding cast led by Gina Beck (Nellie Forbush), Julian Ovenden (Emile de Becque) Joanna Ampil(Bloody Mary), Keir Charles (Luther Billis) and Rob Houchen (Joe Cable), which also includes Iroy Abesamis, Carl Au, Rosanna Bates, David Birrell, Taylor Bradshaw, Bobbie Chambers, Danny Collins, Shailan Gohil, Adrian Grove, Zack Guest, Matthew Maddison, Sera Maehara (as Liat), Melissa Nettleford, Kate Playdon, Pierce Rogan and Clancy Ryan.
 
This much-loved, Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical opened in 1949 to huge success, becoming one of Broadway’s longest running hit shows. It boasts one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most memorable scores, featuring songs such as Some Enchanted Evening, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Bali Ha’i.
 
1943. On an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, US troops are kicking their heels amid the cacao groves while restlessly waiting for the war to reach them. 
 
Nellie Forbush, a navy nurse from Arkansas, finds herself falling for the French plantation owner, Emile de Becque – a man with a mysterious past. The scheming sailor Luther Billis runs a makeshift laundry to earn a quick buck, but he’s no match for the Polynesian Bloody Mary who’s intent on exploiting these foreigners.
 
When young Princeton graduate Lieutenant Joe Cable is flown in on a dangerous reconnaissance mission, love and fear become entwined as the island’s battle for hearts and minds begins.
 
This new production of South Pacific is directed by CFT’s Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous Chichester productions include This Is My Family, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof
 
Making their Chichester debuts are Gina Beck (Matilda, Show Boat, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera) as Nellie, Julian Ovenden(Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel, BBC Proms, Downton Abbey) as Emile, Joanna Ampil (Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon) as Bloody Mary, and Rob Houchen (Les Misérables, The Light in the Piazza) as Cable. Keir Charles, who played Chris Tarrant inQuiz, returns as Luther Billis. 
 
The set and costume designer is Peter McKintosh, and the choreographer and movement director, Ann Yee. Musical direction is by Cat Beveridge, with musical supervision by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Paul Groothuis, additional arrangements by Theo Jamieson, and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

Chichester Festival Theatre cancels Festival 2020 productions

Chichester Festival Theatre announces today that due to the unpredictable ongoing nature of Covid-19, it has made the very difficult decision to cancel all scheduled Festival 2020 productions. The Theatre had been due to reopen in July with South Pacific and The Unfriend, both of which we intend to reschedule to 2021.

Kathy Bourne and Daniel Evans, Executive and Artistic Director respectively, said:

‘We are devastated that for the only time in Chichester Festival Theatre’s history, no Festival performances will take place this year. We had been hoping to be able to produce at least some Festival 2020 shows in the summer and autumn; but all the indications from government point to social distancing being in place for many months to come, as the country continues its vital fight against coronavirus while protecting the NHS. At this unprecedented time, with the full support of the Trustees, we feel this is the most responsible course of action we can take in order to ensure the future resilience of our organisation as well as protecting our staff, artists and audiences.

‘We are currently considering a revised shorter programme of work from Autumn 2020, including Pinocchio over the Christmas period, and are working on a new schedule for 2021 which we hope will include some of the planned Festival 2020 shows, in addition to South Pacific and The Unfriend. All ticket holders will be contacted by our Box Office with the option of exchanges, credits, refunds or donations in good time.

‘We are determined to stay connected to our audiences through our Learning, Education and Participation activities and online streaming, and to continue the initiatives we have implemented which support our community (such as our partnership with the Chichester Scrub Hub, lending our accommodation to the NHS and helping UK Harvest with food deliveries). We are immensely grateful to our supporters and sponsors who have stayed with us during this hugely challenging period; and to the many people who have sent us good wishes and donations. We are living for the moment we can reopen our doors, gather together and make some theatre.’

Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Theatre, added: ‘First of all, Chichester Festival Theatre is safe. This year we will concentrate on extending our virtual LEAP activities, supporting the community and, whenever we can, our carers, nurses and doctors. Our team is in good spirits. The Board of Trustees has been working alongside the Executive to arrive at these decisions; we fully support them and are proud of the entire Theatre team for rising to the challenge. They are absolutely focused on doing all we can to support our community through this ordeal. We will maintain our team for a full reopening with Festival 2021, as we approach our 59th year of being at the heart of the Chichester community.’

Chichester Festival Theatre 2020 season announcement

Chichester Festival Theatre 2020

Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2020 has today been unveiled by Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne. 

  • Five world premieres: 

THE UNFRIEND by Steven Moffat, with Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith, directed by Mark Gatiss THE LONG SONG, a new adaptation by Suhayla El-Bushra based on Andrea Levy’s novel, directed by Charlotte Gwinner, with Cherrelle Skeete heading the cast THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse, adapted from her novel, directed by Jonathan Munby THE NARCISSIST by Christopher Shinn, directed by Ola Ince A new adaptation of PINOCCHIO by Anna Ledwich 

  • Two musicals: 

Daniel Evans directs Chichester’s first production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC with Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden, Joanna Ampil and Rob Houchen ASSASSINS by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, directed by Polly Findlay 

  • Major revivals of great modern dramas: 

Jonathan Church directs Henry Goodman in Brecht’s THE LIFE OF GALILEOtranslated by David Edgar Muriel Spark’s THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE adapted by Jay Presson  Allen, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh Richard Coyle and Lisa Dillon in Tom Stoppard’s THE REAL THING, directed by Simon Evans THE VILLAGE BIKE by Penelope Skinner, directed by Nicole Charles Sarah Kane’s CRAVE, directed by Tinuke Craig 

  • Tickets held at 2019 prices; 20,000 tickets at £10 in the Festival Theatre and over 10,000 £5 PROLOGUE tickets for 16 – 25 year olds 

Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne said: 

‘We are proud to have some of the UK’s most exciting artists working with us in Chichester in 2020. This year we’re achieving a 50:50 gender balance in our playwrights, and we’re thrilled to have five world premieres – which include first plays by Steven Moffat and Kate Mosse, and new work from Suhayla El-Bushra (based on Andrea Levy’s great novel), Anna Ledwich and Christopher Shinn. We’re reintroducing repertory for two productions this autumn, with Kate Mosse’s The Taxidermist’s Daughter alongside Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins in the Festival Theatre. Assassins also plays opposite Christopher Shinn’s The Narcissist in the Minerva: both shedding an entertaining and probing light on American politics and psyche, as the US approaches the presidential election. 

‘We extend a warm welcome to our outstanding acting company; and to our directors (seven female and five male), whether they are returning – Nicole Charles, Tinuke Craig, Rachel Kavanaugh, Jonathan Munby, Dale Rooks and, of course, former Artistic Director Jonathan Church – or working at Chichester for the first time: Simon Evans, Polly Findlay, Mark Gatiss, Charlotte Gwinner and Ola Ince. 

‘The birth of the Chichester Spiegeltent was an undoubted highlight of 2019, and we are delighted to be bringing it back this autumn. Whereas last year it housed an unforgettable production of Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, this year we’ll introduce Sarah Kane’s work to Chichester audiences with a new staging of Crave, before another eclectic season of music, cabaret and family entertainment, to be announced later in the year. 

‘Finally, our extensive work in the local community continues to thrive, through innovative and creative programmes ranging from work with refugees and primary children to dementia friendly initiatives. This year CFT will also be reaching audiences across the globe. Sharon D. Clarke will recreate her Olivier Award-winning performance in Caroline, Or Change in New York; Laura Wade’s The Watsons will be in the West End; James Graham’s Quiz tours the UK this autumn; David Haig’s Pressure visits Toronto; and Singin’ in the Rain splashes down in London, Japan and on a UK tour.’ 

FESTIVAL 2020 PRODUCTIONS – APRIL TO OCTOBER 

Henry Goodman in THE LIFE OF GALILEO by Bertolt Brecht Translated by David Edgar Directed by Jonathan Church 24 April – 16 May, Festival Theatre Press night: Wednesday 29 April 

  1. Galileo Galilei is a teacher of mathematics at the University of Padua. The establishment orthodoxy – which he’s been teaching to private pupils for years – is that the sun revolves round the earth, which is the centre of the universe. The theory confirms the scriptures and pays the bills. 

Now, with the help of a newly-invented telescope, Galileo is starting to look at the universe afresh. And the more he looks, the more he sees, including mountains on the moon and strange stars around Jupiter. His discoveries not only support the heretical idea that the earth moves round the sun, they give rise to urgent new questions too. What if the earth is just another star? And if the church is wrong about the heavens, might it be wrong about how things are here on earth? 

Brilliant minds have been burnt alive for asking such questions. Because though this is the age of science and discovery, it is also the age of the Inquisition. 

 Bertolt Brecht revised his epic play about the battle between scientific reason, the power of religion, and human responsibility in response to the apocalyptic events of the middle of the twentieth century. David Edgar has revised and updated his translation for this production; his adaptations also include Nicholas Nickleby and The Master Builder, both seen at CFT. 

Making welcome returns to Chichester are Director Jonathan Church, who was Artistic Director 2006–16; and Henry Goodman who plays the title role, following his appearances in Yes, Prime Minister (2010) and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2012/13). 

The Life of Galileo will be designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Matthew Scott, sound by Paul Groothuis, video by Dick Straker, movement by Jenny Arnold, casting by Juliet Horsley and children’s casting by Verity Naughton

Richard Coyle and Lisa Dillon in THE REAL THING by Tom Stoppard Directed by Simon Evans 7 May – 6 June, Minerva Theatre Press night: Wednesday 13 May 

Henry is a brilliantly clever playwright with a masterful grasp of language and a lot on his mind. His choices for Desert Island Discs, for a start. 

His actress wife, Charlotte, is appearing in his latest play alongside their friend Max, who’s also married to an actress called Annie. Charlotte’s not convinced the part does her justice and she’s not afraid of saying so. Annie, meanwhile, is campaigning to free Brodie, a soldier who’s recently been jailed for setting fire to a wreath on the cenotaph. And Brodie isn’t Annie’s only interest… 

In Henry’s world everyone is seduced by somebody or something. For some of the time at least. But are these passions more than surface deep? Are they the real thing? 

An hilarious and heartfelt exploration of love and fidelity, The Real Thing is considered one of Tom Stoppard’s finest plays. His other award-winning works include modern classics Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Arcadia

Richard Coyle makes his Chichester debut as Henry. He recently starred in James Graham’s Ink (Almeida/West End), while his screen credits include Coupling, Covert Affairs and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Lisa Dillon returns to play Annie, following her roles as Beatrice and Rosaline in Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost (2016); her recent theatre includes Blithe Spirit (West End). 

Director Simon Evans’s theatre credits include A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (West End), and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and The Silence of the Sea (Donmar Warehouse). 

The Real Thing will be designed by Grace Smart, with music and sound by Alex Baranowski and casting by Juliet Horsley

THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Jay Presson Allen Adapted from the novel by Muriel Spark Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh 29 May – 20 June, Festival Theatre Press night: Wednesday 3 June 

  1. Edinburgh. Schoolmistress Jean Brodie prizes beauty, truth and art above the curriculum, reaching beyond the classroom to find lessons in galleries, theatres and the opera. For her favoured set of girls – Sandy, Jenny, Monica and Mary – she is a fascinating enigma. 

And it’s not only twelve-year-olds who are drawn to the provocative Miss Brodie. There’s Gordon Lowther, the diffident music teacher, whom she visits every Sunday, and the raffish married art teacher, Teddy Lloyd. 

But not everyone is an admirer. Brodie’s unconventional style challenges the established order at Marcia Blaine School, and a headmistress who doesn’t wish lessons to be taught in the open air and minds to be recklessly expanded. 

As the girls grow up and innocence gives way to experience, trust turns to doubt about their teacher. Soon, being a woman and an iconoclast, in a turbulent political age, becomes downright dangerous. 

Jay Presson Allen’s bold, searching and funny play, written in 1966, was adapted from the 1961 novel by Muriel Spark. A hit both in London and on Broadway, it successfully transferred to the screen in 1969. 

This new production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, whose many Chichester productions include Shadowlands (2019), The Winslow Boy (2018) and Half A Sixpence (2016). 

It will be designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Howard Harrison, music by Catherine Jayes, sound by Fergus O’Hare, movement by Georgina Lamb and casting by Charlotte Sutton

THE VILLAGE BIKE by Penelope Skinner Directed by Nicole Charles 12 June – 4 July, Minerva Theatre Press night: Friday 19 June 

Becky and John have moved to a rural idyll. Their renovation is only half finished and the dodgy internal pipe-work is banging, but John loves the organic butchers and the fresh air. 

His wife is less sure. Her body is changing. She’s frustrated. She has needs: startling and urgent longings and desires, which are not being satisfied by her husband, or her nosy neighbour, or the glorious countryside. 

Thank goodness the local men-folk are friendly. Mike is a reliable plumber, and Oliver is the leading man of the local amateur players. He’s currently on stage in tight breeches as highwayman Dick Turpin. Both men are more than willing to help Becky settle in. 

Oliver even has an old bike for sale. One he’s keen to give to restless Becky, and one she’s desperate to take for a ride. Soon the cottage plumbing is not the only thing causing disturbance deep in the English countryside. 

The Village Bike spins the wheels off the old conventions around human desire. Hilarious and original, it explores impending motherhood and the need for liberation from social and gender conventions. Written by Penelope Skinner, it was a smash hit when it opened in London in 2011, winning George Devine and Evening Standard Awards. 

Nicole Charles returns to Chichester to direct, following her five-star production of Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (2019); her other credits include Emilia (West End). 

Becky is played by Esther Smith, whose television credits include Cuckoo, Uncle and the forthcoming Trying. Her short film Elephant was BAFTA-nominated; recent theatre includes Fairview (Young Vic). 

Please note this play contains very strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. Recommended for ages 16+. 

The Village Bike will be designed by Madeleine Girling, with lighting by Prema Mehta, sound by George Dennis and casting by Charlotte Sutton

Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden, Joanna Ampil and Rob Houchen in SOUTH PACIFIC Music by Richard Rodgers Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener Directed by Daniel Evans 6 July – 29 August, Festival Theatre Press night: Tuesday 14 July 

  1. On an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, US troops are kicking their heels amid the cacao groves while restlessly waiting for the war to reach them. 

Nellie Forbush, a navy nurse from Arkansas, finds herself falling for the French plantation owner, Emile de Becque – a man with a mysterious past. The scheming sailor Luther Billis runs a makeshift laundry to earn a quick buck, but he’s no match for the Polynesian Bloody Mary who’s intent on exploiting these foreigners. 

When young Princeton graduate Lieutenant Joe Cable is flown in on a dangerous reconnaissance mission, love and fear become entwined as the island’s battle for hearts and minds begins. 

This much-loved, Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical opened in 1949 to huge success, becoming one of Broadway’s longest running hit shows. It boasts one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most memorable scores, featuring songs such as Some Enchanted Evening, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Bali Ha’i

This new production is directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous Chichester productions include This Is My Family, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof

Making their Chichester debuts are Gina Beck (Matilda, Show Boat, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera) as Nellie, Julian Ovenden (Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel, BBC Proms, Downton Abbey) as Emile, Joanna Ampil (Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon) as Bloody Mary, and Rob Houchen (Les Misérables, The Light in the Piazza) as Cable. 

The set and costume designer is Peter McKintosh, and the choreographer and movement director, Ann Yee. Musical supervision is by Tom Murray, musical direction by Cat Beveridge, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Paul Groothuis and casting by Charlotte Sutton

There will be a Dementia Friendly performance of South Pacific on 19 August at 2.30pm, welcoming individuals living with dementia, as well as their friends, families and carers. 

Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith in THE UNFRIEND A new play by Steven Moffat Directed by Mark Gatiss 17 July – 22 August, Minerva Theatre Press night: Wednesday 22 July 

After twenty years of marriage, Peter and Debbie are enjoying a cruise as a break from their annoying teenagers. Peter can’t resist exchanging views on Donald Trump with an American fellow passenger. There’s something slightly unsettling about the eagerly friendly Elsa Jean Krakowski – but there’s no point in rocking the boat when you’re about to get off it. 

Back home, an email arrives from Elsa, followed by Elsa herself. And when Debbie googles their house guest and turns up some hair-raising evidence, their good nature is challenged as never before. What kind of danger have they allowed to take up residence in their spare room? And can they bring themselves to say anything about it? Sometimes, the truth is just too impolite. 

The Unfriend takes a hugely entertaining and satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct always to appear nice. Manners can be murder. 

Steven Moffat is an award-winning writer, whose hit television series include Doctor Who, Sherlock and Dracula – the latter two co-written with the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who makes his directorial debut. 

Gatiss is also a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen alongside Reece Shearsmith, who plays Peter. Last seen at Chichester in The Dresser, Reece’s recent work also includes Hangmen (Royal Court) and TV’s Inside No 9

Amanda Abbington, whose credits include TV’s Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, and The Son in the West End, makes her Chichester debut as Debbie. 

Frances Barber, last seen here in Uncle Vanya (1996) returns as Elsa; her extensive screen work includes Silk and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

The Unfriend will be designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Mark Henderson and casting by Charlotte Sutton

Cherrelle Skeete in THE LONG SONG A new adaptation by Suhayla El-Bushra Based on the novel by Andrea Levy Directed by Charlotte Gwinner 28 August – 26 September, Minerva Theatre Press night: Thursday 3 September 

‘You do not know me yet but I am the heroine of this drama. I am told that here I must give a taste of what is to unfold. I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent days of slavery and the early years of freedom. 

‘I was born a slave upon a sugar plantation named Amity. I was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and when slavery was declared no more. It tells of my mama Kitty, of the negroes enslaved, of Caroline Mortimer the woman who owned me. I am to say that it is a true and thrilling journey through that unsettled time. 

‘Cha, I say, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just see it for themselves.’ 

Miss July is born into slavery in Jamaica and is brutally parted from both her mother, and her name. But what she retains is resilience, charisma and a subversive, spirited wit. This ebullient and life-affirming play finds humanity, resistance and hope in the darkest of times. 

The Long Song is adapted from Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel by Suhayla El-Bushra, formerly writer in residence at the National Theatre Studio and whose work includes The Suicide (NT), Arabian Nights (Lyceum, Edinburgh), and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and Ackley Bridge

Cherrelle Skeete plays July; her theatre credits include Fun Home (Young Vic), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (West End) and Three Days in the Country (National Theatre), while screen work includes the forthcoming Hanna series 2. 

The cast also includes Maggie Service, whose recent TV credits include Good Omens, Life and Quiz, as Caroline Mortimer. 

Director Charlotte Gwinner was Associate Director at the Bush Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Sheffield Theatres 2014-16, where her productions included Waiting for Godot, the Sarah Kane season and The Distance

The production will be designed by Alex Lowde, with lighting by Mark Doubleday, musical direction, vocal arrangements and additional composition by Michael Henry, sound by Helen Skiera, video by Dick Straker, movement by Rachael Nanyonjo and casting by Charlotte Sutton with Chandra Ruegg

THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGTHER Adapted for the stage by Kate Mosse A new play based on her novel Directed by Jonathan Munby Playing in repertoire, 12 September – 30 October, Festival Theatre Press night: Friday 18 September 

  1. In the isolated Blackthorn House on Sussex’s Fishbourne Marshes, Connie Gifford lives with her father. His Museum of Avian Taxidermy was once legendary, but since its closure Gifford has become a broken man, taking refuge in the bottle. 

Robbed of her childhood memories by a mysterious accident, Connie is haunted by fitful glimpses of her past. A strange woman has been seen in the graveyard; and at Chichester’s Graylingwell Asylum, two female patients have, inexplicably, disappeared. 

As a major storm hits the Sussex landscape, old wounds are about to be opened as one woman, intent on revenge, attempts to liberate another from the horrifying crimes of the past. 

The Taxidermist’s Daughter is a thrilling Gothic mystery set in and around historic Chichester. This world premiere is written by Cicestrian Kate Mosse, based on her best-selling novel. 

Kate Mosse’s novels include The Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and her new historical series, The Burning Chambers. She is Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Professor in Contemporary Fiction & Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. 

Award-winning director Jonathan Munby returns to Chichester where his work includes King Lear with Ian McKellen (2017, also West End) and First Light (2016). His credits elsewhere include Frozen (West End) and Wendy and Peter Pan (RSC). 

The Taxidermist’s Daughter will be designed by Jon Bausor, with lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Christopher Shutt, movement by Charlotte Broom, fight direction by Kate Waters and casting by Juliet Horsley

ASSASSINS Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by John Weidman Directed by Polly Findlay Playing in repertoire, 29 September – 31 October, Festival Theatre Press night: Monday 5 October 

A surreal fairground attraction, where a motley crew of visitors gather to try their luck at winning prizes. They have one thing in common: the American dream has twisted their lives into an American nightmare. Each of them will take aim at the highest seat of power in the land. 

Some succeed, some fail. But there’s a prize for them all: a place in the history books. 

John Wilkes Booth. Lee Harvey Oswald. Leon Czolgosz. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. John Hinckley. Charles Guiteau. Sara Jane Moore. Giuseppe Zangara. Samuel Byck. Men and women whose fervour took them to the very edge. 

Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony Award-winning musical takes us on a daring, darkly comic, time-bending journey through American history. 

This new production marks Sondheim’s 90th birthday year. A giant of contemporary musical theatre, celebrated for the inventive sophistication of his melodies and lyrics, his landmark works also include Company, Follies and Sweeney Todd, produced at Chichester in 2011. John Weidman’s Tony-award winning works include Contact as well two further collaborations with Sondheim, Road Show and Pacific Overtures

Director Polly Findlay makes her CFT debut. Her recent productions include A Number (Bridge Theatre), Rutherford and Son, Beginning (NT and West End) and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Donmar Warehouse). 

The designer will be Lizzie Clachan, with casting by Charlotte Sutton

THE NARCISSIST A new play by Christopher Shinn Directed by Ola Ince 2 – 24 October, Minerva Theatre Press night: Thursday 8 October 

Everyone needs Jim. His mother. His best friend. His brother. His new lover. A hopeful future President. 

But can Jim really help anyone, when he isn’t sure who he is any more, or what he actually believes? An expert in electoral strategy, he’s forged a successful career by advising politicians how to communicate with voters. But following a seismic shift in the political landscape, he’s disillusioned. And his marriage is in crisis. As he juggles the demands on his life through his smartphone, will the lure of success and fame prove irresistible? 

The Narcissist is a gripping, inventive and witty take on personal and political communication in the internet age. 

Christopher Shinn is a celebrated American playwright whose work has been produced to huge acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. His first play, Four, premiered at the Royal Court in 1998 and, in 2008, his play Dying City was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

Ola Ince directs. Winner of the 2016 Genesis Future Director Award, and currently Artistic Associate at the Royal Court, her credits include Appropriate (Donmar Warehouse) and The Convert (Young Vic). 

Please note the play contains strong language; recommended for ages 14+. 

The Narcissist was initially commissioned by Fictionhouse. The casting director is Amy Ball

CRAVE by Sarah Kane Directed by Tinuke Craig 16 – 31 October, The Spiegeltent Press night: Thursday 22 October 

In the darkness of a damaged world, four characters search for the light. 

Angry, funny, defiant, kind and cruel, Crave is a deeply personal meditation on the meaning of love. It pulses with loss and longing. 

Sarah Kane is considered to be one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century. She came to prominence in 1995 with her seminal first play, Blasted. Over her short career she wrote five plays and a film. Crave premiered in August 1998 at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Today, her plays are performed around the world. 

Crave will be staged in the Spiegeltent, which returns to Chichester following the success of 2019’s Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads. It will be directed by Tinuke Craig, whose production of random/generations was a highlight of Festival 2018; since then, her work includes The Color Purple (Curve Leicester), Vassa (Almeida) and the forthcoming Jitney (Headlong/Leeds Playhouse). 

Crave contains strong language; recommended for ages 16+. 

It will be designed by Alex Lowde, with sound by Anna Clock and casting by Charlotte Sutton

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre PINOCCHIO by Anna Ledwich From the original novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi Directed by Dale Rooks 12 – 31 December, Festival Theatre Press night: Wednesday 16 December 

Geppetto the boatmaker tosses aside a piece of wood; it’s only good for the fire. To his amazement, a voice answers him back. Geppetto picks up the wood and begins to carve – and a small wooden boy is revealed. A puppet, which he names Pinocchio. 

And that’s when the mayhem begins. Pinocchio can’t stop getting into trouble, despite the best efforts of the Blue Fairy and the Cricket to keep him on track. His intentions may be good – he truly wants to go to school like real boys and girls – but the temptation to discover the wonders of the world and make his fortune keep getting in the way. 

Pinocchio encounters a host of fascinating characters, from Punch and Judy to the wily Fox and Cat and the strange Sea Monster, as he journeys to Wonderland and the world beneath the sea. But he discovers that it isn’t easy hiding the truth – especially when your nose gets longer with every lie you tell… 

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre present a brand new version of this classic tale, written especially for them by CFT’s Writer-in-Residence Anna Ledwich. Her previous work at Chichester includes The Butterfly Lion (2019), Crossing Lines (2019) and Beauty and the Beast (2018). 

Director Dale Rooks, whose work at Chichester includes The Butterfly Lion, The Midnight Gang and Running Wild, will bring her trademark visual flair and gift for storytelling to this darkly magical reinvention. 

The set will be designed by Simon Higlett, with costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by James Whiteside, music by Tom Brady, sound by Gregory Clarke and movement by Lauren Grant

Recommended for ages 7+. There will be a Relaxed performance of Pinocchio on 28 December at 4pm, and a Polish-translated performance on 21 December at 7pm. 

FESTIVAL 2020 EVENTS A lively programme of talks and activities will complement Festival 2020. Highlights include interviews with Kate Mosse, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss; an evening of conversation and performance with David Suchet; writers Arifa Akbar, Sara Collins and Ade Solanke discussing Andrea Levy’s legacy; and a concert with Daniel Evans to celebrate Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with Daniel

Free Pre- and Post-Show Discussions, with the director and cast members, are held for each production. 

THE SPIEGELTENT In October 2020 the Chichester Spiegeltent returns, situated next to the Festival Theatre on Oaklands Park. As well as housing Sarah Kane’s Crave, it will play host to an eclectic mix of cabaret, music, circus, theatre, comedy and family fun. The full programme will be announced later in the year at chichesterspiegeltent.com. 

BOOKING INFORMATION 

Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens: Saturday 22 February (online and booking forms only) Tuesday 25 February (phone and in person) 

Booking for Groups and Schools opens: Thursday 27 February 

General booking opens: Saturday 29 February (online only) Tuesday 3 March (phone and in person) 

cft.org.uk Box Office 01243 781312  

Tickets from £10 and 20,000 tickets at £10 

Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 25s Over 10,000 £5 tickets are available for 16 to 25 year-olds for all productions throughout Festival 2020; sign up for free at cft.org.uk/prologue. Members also have access to a range of exclusive events. 

Twitter @ChichesterFT Facebook ChichesterFestivalTheatre Instagram ChichesterFT YouTube ChichesterTheatre 

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Festival 2020 sponsors The Life of Galileo is sponsored by Reynolds Fine Furniture The Real Thing is sponsored by Genesis Town Planning The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is sponsored by Lancing College The Village Bike is sponsored by ITD Consultants South Pacific is sponsored by Noble Caledonia and R.L. Austen The Unfriend is sponsored by Jones & Tomlin The Long Song is sponsored by Ashling Park The Taxidermist’s Daughter is sponsored by Henry Adams and Seaward Assassins is sponsored by Oldham Seals Group The Narcissist is sponsored by Wiley Crave is sponsored by Genesis Town Planning Pinocchio is sponsored by Henry Adams and Mercer 

Festival 2020 press nights 

The Life of Galileo, Festival Theatre Wednesday 29 April, 7.00pm The Real Thing, Minerva Theatre Wednesday 13 May, 7.00pm The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Festival Theatre Wednesday 3 June, 7.00pm The Village Bike, Minerva Theatre Friday 19 June, 7.00pm South Pacific, Festival Theatre Tuesday 14 July, 7.00pm The Unfriend, Minerva Theatre Wednesday 22 July, 7.00pm The Long Song, Minerva Theatre Thursday 3 September, 7.00pm The Taxidermist’s Daughter, Festival Theatre Friday 18 September, 7.00pm Assassins, Festival Theatre Monday 5 October, 7.00pm The Narcissist, Minerva Theatre Thursday 8 October, 7.00pm Crave, Spiegeltent Thursday 22 October, 7.00pm