Chichester Festival Theatre announces autumn season

Chichester Festival Theatre has revealed reopening plans for an autumn season of socially distanced shows in its main auditorium.

Reopening CFT will be a new revival of Sarah Kane’s hit 1998 play, Crave. Originally meant to be presented in the venue’s Spiegeltent before the national lockdown, the Tinuke Craig-directed revival will now run on the theatre’s main stage to socially distanced audiences from 29th October to 7th November. Performances of Crave from 30th October will also be simultaneously live-streamed to digital audiences, enabling those unwilling or unable to make it to the theatre in-person a chance to see the piece.

Erin Doherty and Alfred Enoch are set to star in the new production. Doherty currently stars as Princess Anne in Netflix’s The Crown, whilst her stage credits include leading roles in A Christmas Carol and The Divide at The Old Vic. Alfred Enoch stage credits include leading roles in Red in the West End, Tree at the Young Vic and King Lear at Manchester’s Royal Exchange. Both actors make their Chichester debut in the piece.

Crave will also feature a sensory sound and videoscape, created by director Tinuke Craig, designer Alex Lowde and sound designer Anna Clock.

On 1st November, Chichester Festival Theatre will celebrate the 90th birthday of Stephen Sondheim with two special concerts helmed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans. Gabrielle Brooks, Clive Rowe, Hannah Waddingham and Jenna Russell are all confirmed names for the concerts, performing “numbers from some of Sondheim’s major and lesser-known works.” The concerts perform at 3pm and 7pm.

In a number of one-off events, Patricia Routledge (11th November), Sheila Hancock (18th November) and Michael Ball (25th November) will partake in a series of live conversations with writer Edward Seckerson entitled Facing the Music, discussing in length their lives and careers.

Chichester will also present a series of live music throughout the season, with concerts featuring a song recital by acclaimed soprano Kate Royal (11th November), Henry Goodman and pianist Lucy Parham celebrating the work of Rachmaninoff (18th November), while concert pianist Joe Stilgoe performs his solo show (25th November). Ushering in the Christmas season, Daniel Evans, Rebecca Caine and Rebecca Trehearn will perform a range of traditional carols from 30th November to 3rd December.

Additionally there will be a variety of cabaret and comedy nights throughout November, with shows including: A Night at the Musicals with La Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo (13th and 14th November), Frisky & Mannish (12th November), The Black Cat Cabaret (19th-21st November), Shift by the Barely Methodical Troupe (26th to 28th November), and two comedy nights with Rich Hall, Suzy Ruffell and Andrew Ryan (17th November), and Russell Kane, Rosie Jones and Charlie Barker (24th November).

Finally, over the Christmas season, the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre mount a brand new version of Pinocchio by Anna Ledwich. Directed by Dale Rooks, Pinocchio features music and orchestrations by Tom Brady, set design by Simon Higlett, costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by James Whiteside, musical direction by Colin Billing, sound by Gregory Clarke and movement by Lauren Grant. It runs from 11th December to 2nd January, with a Polish-translated show taking place on 21st December.

Executive Director Kathy Bourne and Artistic Director Daniel Evans say: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome audiences to a new Chichester season, but it’s with particular joy that we welcome them to this very special Autumn season, after six long months of our Theatre being dark and empty.

“In putting together this eclectic mix of drama, music, cabaret and comedy, we hope there is something to entice people of all ages to experience once more the uniquely uplifting exhilaration of live performance. The season includes some distinguished names in drama and music, alongside ground-breaking contemporary performers.

“We’ve worked long and hard to put all the necessary measures in place for our audiences’ and artists’ health and comfort, and to make their visit COVID-safe. While social distancing is in place, we are having to explore other forms of live performance to ensure the Theatre’s future sustainability. For now, we are celebrating that Chichester Festival Theatre’s doors are opening again.”

Tickets for Chichester Festival Theatre’s autumn season go on general sale from 2nd October.

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