Chichester Festival Theatre 2021 season of shows announced in full

Chichester Festival Theatre 2021

Chichester Festival Theatre has announced its full 2021 season of shows – here’s all you need to know!

Four new productions will follow the previously announced South Pacific, which will be available to watch both in person and online.


Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director 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.”

See the full details and season of shows below!


5 July – 4 September in person with streaming on select dates in August and September, Festival Theatre / online

South Pacific - Julian Ovenden and Gina Beck. Photo by Seamus Ryan
South Pacific – Julian Ovenden and Gina Beck. Photo by Seamus Ryan

A brand new production of the hit musical with music & lyrics from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener.

Directed by Daniel Evans with a cast including Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden, Joanna Ampil, Keir Charles and Rob Houchen. 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.

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.



6 – 28 August, Minerva Theatre

The Flock. Photo: Bob King Creative
The Flock. Photo: Bob King Creative

A new play by Zoe Cooper and directed by Guy Jones with design by Natasha Jenkins, lighting by Zoe Spurr, sound design by Alexandra Faye Braithwaite and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

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.

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? Selina Cadell stars.



3 September – 2 October, Minerva Theatre

The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Photo: Bob King Creative
The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Photo: Bob King Creative

Written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Rachel O’Riordan, this co-production with Lyric Hammersmith Theatre 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.

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.



1 – 23 October, Festival Theatre

The Long Song. Photo by Seamus Ryan
The Long Song. Photo by Seamus Ryan

Charlotte Gwinner directs Suhayla El-Bushra’s adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel.

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 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.



8 October – 6 November, Minerva Theatre

Home. Credit: Bob King Creative
Home. Credit: Bob King Creative

Josh Roche directs this new revival of David Storey’s awarding play with production design by Sophie Thomas and casting by Charlotte Sutton

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.



18 December – 1 January, Festival Theatre

Archie Elliot and Company in Chichester Festival Youth Theatre's Pinocchio. Photo: Manuel Harlan
Archie Elliot and Company in Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s Pinocchio. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Directed by Dale Rooks, Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Anna Ledwich’s new adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi features music from Tom Brady.

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.

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.

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