News: CFT’S 60th anniversary season announced

Full details of Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2022 – their diamond anniversary year – have been announced by Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne

This sparkling Festival season offers no less than six world premiere productions, including three musicals: the Tony and Olivier Award-winning Gershwin musical Crazy for YouLocal Hero, inspired by the hit film and featuring songs by Mark Knopfler; and a new family musical adventure, The Famous Five. The host of dramas includes some of the new plays originally lined up for Festival 2020 – The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Cicestrian Kate Mosse, Steven Moffat’s The Unfriend and Christopher Shinn’s The Narcissist – as well as Alecky Blythe’s Our Generation. Henry Goodman plays Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient ExpressAlex Jennings leads the cast of Stephen Beresford’s new play The Southbury Child, Roy Williams’s much-praised Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads returns in a reconfigured Minerva; and Alan Ayckbourn’s celebrated Woman in Mind completes the line-up. And for Christmas, Chichester Festival Youth Theatre present The Wind in the Willows.

Crazy for You

This hilarious, riotously entertaining musical is packed with glorious Gershwin melodies (including Someone to Watch Over Me, Embraceable YouI Got Rhythm and They Can’t Take That Away from Me), with stunning tap dance routines guaranteed to set the spirits soaring. The witty book and dialogue are written by Ken Ludwig, who also wrote this season’s Murder on the Orient Express and is the author of the Tony Award-winning Lend Me a Tenor.

This brand new production, which celebrates the work’s 30th anniversary, is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman: true Broadway royalty and winner of five Tony and two Olivier Awards for productions including The Producers and The Scottsboro Boys. It stars Charlie Stemp as Bobby.

Local Hero

David Greig’s book, based on Bill Forsyth’s iconic film, features new songs by the legendary Mark Knopfler (formerly of Dire Straits). This new musical version of Local Hero will win devotees from admirers of the beloved film as well as those coming fresh to this funny and enchanting story. It’s directed by Daniel Evans, whose previous Chichester productions include South Pacific, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof

The Famous Five

Based on Enid Blyton’s multi-million-selling novels, this brand new musical written by Elinor Cook, with music and lyrics by Theo Jamieson, is an exciting and heart-warming family treat celebrating adventure, bravery and friendship.

Tamara Harvey, Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, directs this co-production. Her work includes the Olivier award-winning Home, I’m Darling, Peter Gill’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya and productions for Shakespeare’s Globe, Bush Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and in the West End.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter

A story of retribution and justice, 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 No 1 internationally best-selling novel.

The cast includes Geoffrey Aymer, Pearl Chanda, William Chubb, Tim Frances, Daisy Prosper, Forbes Masson, Taheen Modak, Akai Osei, Alastair Parker, Raad Rawi, Howard Saddler, Posy Sterling and Connie Walker.

The Unfriend  

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 directs. Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber, Reece Shearsmith, Maddie Holliday and Michael Simkins star in a hugely entertaining and satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct always to appear nice. 

The Narcissist  

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.

Josh Seymour was formerly Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse and won the 2016 Off-West End Award for Best Director for Tennessee Williams’ One Arm at Southwark Playhouse. His theatre credits also include Associate Director on The Normal Heart and Follies at the National Theatre.

Our Generation

Alecky Blythe’s panoramic new verbatim play tells the stories of a generation. Created from five years of interviews with 12 young people from all four corners of the UK, Our Generation is a captivating portrait of their teenage years as they journey into adulthood.

Artistic Director Daniel Evans directs this co-production with the National Theatre which stars Dee Ahluwalia, Joe Bolland, Anna Burnett, Anushka Chakravarti, Debbie Chazen, Gavi Singh Chera, Rachelle Diedericks, Hasan Dixon, Hélder Fernandes, Sarita Gabony, Conor Gormally, Alex Jarrett, Callum Mardy, Poppy Shepherd and Stephanie Street.

Murder on the Orient Express

Adapted from Agatha Christie’s masterpiece by Ken Ludwig, whose Olivier and Tony Award-winning stage works include Lend Me a Tenor and Crazy for You, this spectacular and sumptuous new staging is directed by former CFT Artistic Director Jonathan Church (Amadeus, Singin’ in the Rain) and designed by Robert Jones (Oklahoma!, Mack & Mabel).

Henry Goodman makes a welcome return to Chichester to play Poirot, following his appearances in Yes, Prime Minister (2010) and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2012/13), also directed by Jonathan Church.

The Southbury Child

Stephen Beresford’s very funny new play is a deeply humane exploration of family, faith, tradition and tolerance in a rapidly changing world. His work includes The Last of the Haussmans at the National Theatre, an adaptation of Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander for The Old Vic and the BAFTA-winning film Pride. A strong cast includes Alex Jennings, Holly Atkins, Josh Finan, Jack Greenlees, Jo Herbert, Phoebe Nicholls, Racheal Ofori and Sarah Twomey.

Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads

Premiered at the National Theatre in 2002, Roy Williams’s ferocious, funny and disturbing play takes aim at what it means to be black, white and English in twenty-first century Britain. Scoring high on foul language, threat and vulgar humour, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Nicole Charles’s much-praised production, which earned critical and public acclaim when it was staged in Chichester’s Spiegeltent in 2019, returns for a run in World Cup and Women’s Euro year in the Minerva Theatre, part of which will be transformed into a pub setting to create an immersive theatrical experience.

Woman in Mind

Alan Ayckbourn’s dazzling black comedy takes us on a dizzying journey through the looking glass into a woman’s mind. Justin Martin makes his directorial debut at Chichester. His West End work includes Prima Facie and The Jungle (also New York), the latter co-directed with Stephen Daldry with whom he also collaborated on TV’s Together and The Crown.

The Wind in the Willows.

Alan Bennett’s stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 story, originally seen at the National Theatre, has become a classic in its own right. Dale Rooks, whose Chichester productions include The Butterfly Lion, The Midnight Gang and Pinocchio, directs a Chichester Festival Youth Theatre show that perfectly combines humour and enchantment with a delicious shiver of danger.

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