It’s been announced that Alex Young will join the Chichester Festival Theatre’s upcoming production of South Pacific, sharing the lead role of Nellie Forbush alongside the previously announced Gina Beck, who has announced news of her pregnancy.
Beck opens the role from 6th July. Young then joins the cast from 5th August, sharing the role with Beck until 23rd August, at which point Young takes over the role of Nellie for the remainder of the run.
Young returns to Chichester Festival Theatre after for the first time since 2018, where she starred opposite Matt Lucas in the theatre’s acclaimed production of Me and My Girl. Young’s other stage credits include Follies at the National Theatre and Guys and Dolls at Sheffield Crucible.
Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of CFT and director of South Pacific said: ‘It’s utterly joyful news that Gina is expecting her second baby and that her long-awaited Chichester debut in the role of Nellie will take place as planned from 5 July. I know that Gina is as delighted as I am that Alex Young will share the role with her at certain performances from 5 August, and take over full-time for the final weeks of the run to allow Gina to focus full-time on her next production!”
Gina Beck said: ‘I’m so excited to be finally playing Nellie at Chichester, and am so grateful to CFT for all their support. I’m hoping their trailblazing attitude will spread across the industry to create a future which accommodates those women who want to start a family. When carrying my first child, I became unemployable and unpaid for 6 months of my pregnancy because I looked, well…pregnant. Like most women, I wasn’t unable to work during this time, but because of some of the industry’s more conventional attitudes, financial pressures greatly impacted my choice to return to work when my daughter was just 4 months old.”
Alex Young added: ‘I’m so delighted to be returning to Chichester and joining the extraordinary company of South Pacific. To be sharing this gorgeous role with Gina is a huge honour; she is someone I respect and admire enormously as a woman, actress and fellow mother. I’m very grateful to Dan and the team for creating a safe, sensitive and generous environment for parents in the industry. Being a working mum is a challenge, whatever line of work you’re in, but could feel almost impossible when you work in the arts, so I’m thrilled this important progress is being made.’
The cast of South Pacific also includes Julian Ovenden as Emile, Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary, Keir Charles as Luther Billis and Rob Houchen as Cable.
The production features 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 runs at Chichester Festival Theatre from 5th July to 4th September. Tickets are on sale now.