Chichester Festival Theatre has confirmed a number of new shows on top of those already announced for its autumn season.
Liza Goddard, Robert Powell, Reece Shearsmith and Ken Stott join Edward Fox, Amanda Holden, Felicity Kendal and Imogen Stubbs in the line-up.
The season features:
Edward Fox in SAND IN THE SANDWICHES, Minerva Theatre, November 2-12. Edward Fox stars in a new, one-man play celebrating the poet John Betjeman. Written by Hugh Whitemore (Stevie, Breaking the Code) and directed by Gareth Armstrong, SAND IN THE SANDWICHES travels from Betjeman’s boyhood to life as Britain’s Poet Laureate, presenting an entertaining insight into a man famous for his passions and sense of purpose as much as his unforgettable poetry.
Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and
Nicola Stephenson in STEPPING OUT, Festival Theatre, November 8-19. Funny and heart-warming, Richard Harris’s uplifting play STEPPING OUT charts the lives of seven women and one man attempting to tap their troubles away at a weekly dancing class. Initially all thumbs and left feet, the group is just getting to grips with the basics when they are asked to take part in a charity gala.
Robert Powell and Liza Goddard in RELATIVELY SPEAKING, Festival Theatre, November 22-26. RELATIVELY SPEAKING was Alan Ayckbourn’s first West End hit. Greg only met Ginny a month ago but has already made up his mind that she’s the girl for him, and decides to ask her father for his daughter’s hand. Discovering a scribbled address, he follows Ginny to Buckinghamshire where he finds Philip and Sheila enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning breakfast in the garden, but they’re not Ginny’s parents…
A ROOM WITH A VIEW, Festival Theatre, November 29-December 3. One of E M Forster’s most celebrated novels, A ROOM WITH A VIEW is an elegant Edwardian romance with a vivid cast of characters; the 1985 Merchant Ivory screen version is widely cherished as one of the best romantic films of all time. This new adaptation by Simon Reade is directed by former RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, fresh from his acclaimed production of Ross in Festival 2016. Starring Felicity Kendal.
THE DRESSER, Festival Theatre, January 25-February 4. Ken Stott and Reece Shearsmith star in a revival of THE DRESSER, widely regarded as Ronald Harwood’s greatest play. Backstage in a provincial English theatre as World War II rages, an ageing, once-famous classical actor is troubled. ‘Sir’, the last in a dying breed of great Shakespearean actors, is unwilling to deliver his renowned portrayal of King Lear. It falls to his faithful dresser Norman to rouse another great performance from him, to keep both the show and its star from falling apart. Ken Stott (Rebus, God of Carnage) as Sir and Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Inside Number 9) as Norman, head a multi award-winning cast which also includes Selina Cadell, Simon Rouse and Harriet Thorpe; the director is Sean Foley (The Ladykillers, Jeeves and Wooster).
MR POPPER’S PENGUINS Minerva Theatre, December 7-11. A new musical adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater’s popular book, with songs and an endearing puppet family of penguins. Painter and decorator by day, Mr Popper spends his time dreaming of Antarctic adventures. He is astounded when, one day, a packing crate arrives on his doorstep, out of which waddles a penguin.
RUNNING WILD Festival Theatre, February 10-17. Following a successful run at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London, RUNNING WILD returns home to Chichester. Originated by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre at Cass Sculpture Foundation in 2015, Michael Morpurgo’s novel about love, loss, loyalty and living for the moment is adapted for the stage by Samuel Adamson and won the UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People.
For Lilly, an Indonesian holiday with mum is a new start and the chance to ride an elephant called Oona. But then the tsunami hits and Oona charges deep into the jungle, her young rider desperately clinging on. At first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans but, as thoughts turn to mum left behind, tigers prowl, hunger hits, and Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest. Then come the hunters…
Also coming up: Sensacional: A Spectacular Show for Toddlers Minerva Theatre, Jan 31 and February 1; Pat-a-Cake Baby Minerva Theatre, February 4; Comedy Club 4 Kids! Minerva Theatre, February 11; Moscow City Ballet, Festival Theatre, January 3-8; BBC Concert Orchestra, Festival Theatre, Friday Night is Music Night, November 4.
Other shows include:
In A South Downs Way Minerva Theatre, November 13. Actor Hugh Bonneville joins composer Damian Montagu, brass player Stewart Prosser and the Tippett Quartet for conversation, poetry and music inspired by the Sussex landscape, including the world premiere live performance of the recently-released album.
Joe Stilgoe: Songs on Film Minerva Theatre, December 4. Singer, pianist and entertainer Joe Stilgoe and his band perform songs written for and inspired by some of the greatest films of the last century – from Hollywood’s golden age to the work of Tarantino and Pixar.
Iolanthe in Concert Festival Theatre, January 21. A classic Gilbert & Sullivan operetta performed by soloists, chorus and on-stage orchestra, conducted by Martin Handley. This satire of British government, law and society includes the witty Loudly Let the Trumpet Bray, When All Night Long A Chap Remains and Nightmare Song.
Julia Biel Minerva Theatre, January 21. Ten years on from her debut Not Alone, she returns with Love Letters and Other Missiles.
The Barber of Seville Minerva Theatre, February 3. Pop-Up Opera bring Rossini’s sparkling comic masterpiece to life, sung in Italian with English captions. The ever-resourceful barber Figaro tries to help the young Count Almaviva win the hand of the beautiful Rosina, with farcical results.
Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens:
Saturday, September 10 (online and by booking form only)
Tuesday, September 13 (phone and in person)
Public booking opens:
Saturday, September 17 (online only)
Tuesday, September 20 (phone and in person)
Box Office 01243 781312; online cft.org.uk.
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