Chichester Festival Theatre – complete Festival 2021 announcement

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.’ 


Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden,  

Joanna Ampil, Keir Charles and Rob Houchen in 

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 


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 


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. 


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.


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. 


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 


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. 


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. 


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) 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 Members also have access to a range of  exclusive events. 

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