New dates and shows at Chichester Festival Theatre

Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner will take to the stage at Chichester Festival Theatre in Michael Frayn’s Benefactors next February as the venue confirms new dates and shows.

Hugh Dennis
Hugh Dennis

They have also confirmed online streams for a number of shows which have already been announced but are now unable to go ahead with a live audience.

CFT spokeswoman Lucinda Morrison said: “Following the Covid-19 lockdown until December 2, Chichester Festival Theatre is deeply sorry to have had to cancel or postpone some of the shows in the autumn season.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“However, we are glad to be able to stream a number of performances to audiences at home; and after December 2, our Christmas shows are scheduled to go ahead with some date alterations. We are also actively planning our spring season.”

Looking ahead to early 2021, Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner – who starred in the BBC’s hugely popular Outnumbered – will lead the cast of a new production of Michael Frayn’s multi award-winning classic comedy Benefactors.

Directed by Charlotte Gwinner in a co-production with Jonathan Church Theatre Productions, and touring to Bath Theatre Royal, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Marlowe Theatre Canterbury, The Lowry Salford and Everyman Theatre Cheltenham after its Chichester run, Benefactors comes promised as a “funny, gripping and wryly shrewd look at the unforeseen consequences of our best intentions.”

The production will run at Chichester from February 5-27, and booking will open in early January.

Streaming to audiences at home this autumn will be: Facing The Music: Michael Ball in conversation with Edward Seckerson, Wednesday, November 25 at 2.30pm; and Joe Stilgoe – Out of the Shed, Wednesday, November 25 at 7.30pm.

The CFT has now confirmed new dates for A Merry Little Christmas Celebration – Thursday, December 3-Saturday, December 5, Festival Theatre including Friday, December 4, 7.30pm live stream.

They are promising a joyous and warming evening of seasonal words and music, with Simon Callow reading yuletide poems and an extract from A Christmas Carol, and West End singers Rebecca Caine, Emmanuel Kojo and Rebecca Trehearn joining CFT artistic director Daniel Evans and a special surprise guest each night for a range of traditional carols and festive favourites.

Dear Santa will play as originally scheduled, from December 5-24 in the Minerva Theatre, offering music, laughter and plenty of (socially distanced) audience participation, with a chance to meet Santa himself after the show. It comes promised as a perfect introduction to theatre for ages two to seven.

There are new dates for Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Pinocchio –December 16-January 2 – a brand-new version of this classic tale, written especially for the youth theatre by CFT’s writer-in-residence Anna Ledwich with music by Tom Brady. Youth theatre director Dale Rooks, whose work at Chichester includes The Butterfly Lion, The Midnight Gang and Running Wild, will direct. Recommended for ages seven plus.

There will be a Polish-translated performance of Pinocchio on December 21 at 7pm and a relaxed performance on Sunday, December 27 at 2pm.

Lucinda added: “All remaining shows in the autumn season have been cancelled.

“We hope it may be possible to reschedule them in the future.”

cft.org.uk; 01243 781312.