Open-air gala will launch 2022 Festival of Chichester

An open-air gala on the Cathedral Green will get the 2022 Festival of Chichester off to a fun and colourful start on Saturday afternoon, June 11.

David Bathurst - all The Beatles songs from memory
David Bathurst - all The Beatles songs from memory

Chichester novelist Kate Mosse and the Mayor of Chichester will declare the festival open, heralding an afternoon of free performances. The timetable for the day will be 1.45 – Tesoro, classical cross-over duo sing songs from films, shows, opera and musicals; 2pm – Kate Mosse heralds the festival; 2.10 - City Mayor officially opens the festival; 2.15 – The Bernardi Music Group play classical gems; 2.40 – Olivia Stevens offers jazzy blues songs; 3pm – Chichester University entertain; 4pm – close.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “It will be a fantastic way to get everyone in the mood for the festival which, as ever, will be huge in its brilliance and variety.

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“I am particularly looking forward to Discovering Spymaster – A Conversation With Dr Helen Fry (Friday, June 17, 6pm. The Council House, North Street).”

As the Second World War loomed Thomas Kendrick, ostensibly a passport officer in Vienna, was running British spy networks across Europe and using his position to help Austrian Jews flee to freedom.

Historian and biographer Helen Fry will explore his life in conversation with the University of Chichester's Andrew Smith. Tickets £10.

“And another great highlight is going to be David Bathurst delivering all The Beatles songs from memory (Saturday July 2, 9.30am, St Mary’s & St Blaise, Boxgrove).”

David, who has previously recited the New Testament and the complete works of Gilbert & Sullivan from memory, will, from memory, sing every song recorded, composed and released by the Beatles onto one of their albums. Free entry.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith is delighted with the programme: “We have a fabulous line-up to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our city festival which this year is part of the district wide Culture Spark showcase. Our aim is to bring together the talents of local performers and organisations with the added lustre that visiting national and international stars can bring. We’re delighted to be welcoming to the Cathedral two world class orchestras. Jess Gillam, the 23-year-old saxophone superstar, leads the London Mozart Players. The soloist for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is Leonard Elschenbroich, one of the world’s finest cellists. Spoken word is particularly exciting. We are proud to present three legendary poets – Liverpudlian Roger McGough at the Cathedral and Queens Gold Medal for Poetry winners Grace Nichols and John Agard at the Poetry & Jazz Café.

" Novelist Elly Griffiths discusses her best-selling novels, while the Lord Chamberlain’s Men bring Shakespeare to Cathedral Green For those who love a bit of jazz, blues or world music, we have jazz clarinettist Julian Stringle at the Assembly Room, international performers She’Koyokh with toe-tapping world music at Halnaker and Pavlos Carvalho’s Greek Band at St Paul’s.”