VIDEO: Festival of Chichester programme 2023 unveiled

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Among the events coming up at this year’s Festival of Chichester


Sunday, June 3, 7pm. FAUST – STAGED OPERA BY GOUNOD, NEW SUSSEX OPERA CHORUS, The Assembly Room, The Council House, North Street, Chichester. New Sussex Opera Chorus presents Gounod’s Faust, an immersive production of this opera, a popular, tuneful favourite, although in recent times not frequently performed. NSO Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, conductor Nicholas Houghton, director Cate Crockford. Staged and sung in English. Tickets: £25, concessions £23

Friday, June 9, 7pm. LIVE BANDS NIGHT AT UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER ZEEBAR, UCSU, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, PO19 6PE. UCSU are proud to present some of the best local artists from across Sussex’s vibrant music scene in our live venue. Chichester’s Jam Studio is putting up acts, as well as our university students. This promises to be a veritable cornucopia of talent and wondrous sounds. Tickets: £5.

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Festival president Kate Mosse will be launching her new book at the festivalFestival president Kate Mosse will be launching her new book at the festival
Festival president Kate Mosse will be launching her new book at the festival

Saturday, June 10, 7.30pm. BEYOND OUR WORLD, Bernardi Music Group, Chichester Cathedral. Gustav Holst rests in Chichester Cathedral. This performance by many leading UK instrumentalists features his masterpiece ‘The Planets’, mirrored by a new work: ‘The Lost Planet.’ The concert opens with ‘Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector’ arranged for solo electric viola and performed by Nic Pendlebury. Tickets: band A/B £30/25, concessions band A/B £15/12.50.

Saturday, June 10, 7.30pm. CHICHESTER FRINGE: AN IMPROVISED EVENING WITH STUART IRONSIDE, Chichester Fringe, Chichester Ship Canal Café, Canal Basin. Following on from performances at Chichester Fringe in 2021 and 2022, Stuart Ironside returns with an evening of meditative and contemplative listening; inspired by his recent work in West African and experimental music. Tickets are available via the venue: Tickets: £10, concessions £7.

Sunday, June 11, 6pm. MARTIN SMITH – THE LYRICAL EUPHONIUM, Christchurch, Chichester. The Lyrical Euphonium returns to the Festival of Chichester featuring recital favourites from the latest critically acclaimed CD/album by Martin Smith featured on BBC Radio. From Elgar to Capuzzi and Cecilia McDowall, Evelyn Glennie and Rebecca Clarke in a charity event supporting The Cat and Rabbit Rescue Centre, Sidlesham. Tickets: £10, concessions £5

Tuesday, June 13, 7.30pm. CHICHESTER MUSIC SOCIETY – ENDYMION ENSEMBLE, University of Chichester Chapel. CMS is delighted to welcome the Endymion Ensemble for this concert dedicated to the memory of our late chairman David Tinsley. The Endymion last visited CMS as a trio in June 2019 for our summer buffet concert, playing music for violin, horn and piano. In this evening’s concert the ensemble will be playing music for three, four and six players including Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G Minor and Dohnanyi’s Sextet. Tickets: £15.

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Wednesday, June 14, 7.30pm. BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MIDSUMMER MELODY, Chichester Cathedral. Enjoy a summer’s evening with some of the most memorable melodies ever written, performed in full majesty by the BSO. Vaughan Williams’ Tallis Fantasia, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Dvorak’s ‘From the New World’ Symphony. Tom Fetherstonhaugh conducts. Tickets: £31/£26/£15 Concessions: 50% discount.

Saturday, June 17, 7.30pm. THE CHICHESTER SINGERS’ 70TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT, Chichester Cathedral. Jonathan Willcocks leads one of the south’s leading amateur choirs The Chichester Singers as it celebrates 70 years of music-making. This anniversary season culminates in our Chichester Cathedral performance on June 17. Chilcott – Dances of Time; Stanford – Songs of the Fleet; Assersohn – A Drop of Nelson’s Blood. Tickets: £30 to £10.

Sunday, June 18, 7pm. VOICES OF GREECE: ZABETAS: WITH PLASTIKES KAREKLES, St Paul’s Church, Chichester.

Zabetas is one of the warmest and most relatable and uplifting Greek musicians. His catchy and melodic music, filled with the down-to-earth tragedy and comedy of the human condition, makes his songs part of the DNA of Greek life. “Plastikes Karekles had people dancing in the aisles and evoked memories of sunnier climes” (Nottingham Press). Tickets: £15, concessions £6.

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Sunday, June 18, 3pm. LYNDEN CRANHAM: BACH’S CELLO SUITES AND TEA, St Peter and St Mary Church, Fishbourne. Launching volume two of her recording of Bach’s cello suites, Lynden will play from these wonderful compositions, using four-string and five-string baroque cellos; writer and broadcaster Roger Parker will discuss the music; tea follows. Proceeds to St Peter and St Mary Church, the beautiful space where the recordings were made. Tickets: £10.

Thursday, June 22, 7.30pm. POETRY & JAZZ CAFE WITH PENELOPE SHUTTLE, South Downs Poetry Festival, The Assembly Room, Chichester. Acclaimed, award-winning poet and novelist Penelope Shuttle teams up with star jazz saxophonist Jo Fooks to entertain and inspire. Penelope will read from her celebrated books and her new collection Lyonesse, the mythical kingdom of Cornwall. A delightful mix of words and jazz. Jo Fooks rose to fame with Humphrey Lyttleton’s Band. Tickets: £15.

Wednesday, June 21, 7pm. MAESTRA: 900 YEARS OF CHORAL MUSIC BY FEMALE COMPOSERS, Sonare, St Peter’s Place, Fishbourne. Sonare turns the spotlight onto a wealth of exciting, moving and even boundary-breaking music, spanning 900 years, and taking in everything from German mystics to famous siblings. Although women have been composing alongside men for centuries, their works have often been neglected in favour of their male counterparts. Tickets: £17, seniors £15, students £12.

Saturday, July 1, 7.30pm. A TRIBUTE TO OUR FRIEND CHRIS IN AID OF SAGE HOUSE, Bognor Regis Music Club, Chichester Baptist Church. Local pianist Chris Coote organised concerts for local charities, raising thousands from donations over many years. Chris was also chairman of the Bognor Regis Music Club. Join us as we come together to celebrate the life of our friend Chris, who died in 2020, and raise money for Sage House. Free entry with a retiring collection.

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Tuesday, July 4, 7pm. POETRY AND MUSIC WITH LOUIS DE BERNIĒRES AND CONCERT PIANIST ELENA TOPONOGOVA, Chichester Cathedral. Enjoy a magical blend of poetry and music with international-bestselling writer Louis de Bernières, brilliant concert pianist Elena Toponogova, actress Emily Rose Smith and South Downs poets celebrating the bicentenaries of the Romantic poets. The mix includes poetry, romantic music and readings from the poets linked with Sussex. Tickets: £15.


Saturday, June 10, 7.30pm. SPEED AGGRESSION SURPRISE – THE UNTOLD SECRET ORIGINS OF THE SAS, Tom Petch, The Assembly Room, Chichester. Myth surrounds the origins of the SAS. Author, film-director and former commander Tom Petch tells first hand the real story of how the world’s pre-eminent Special Forces were born, exploring the ideas and characters that forged a new means of warfare from the wreckage of Dunkirk. Signed copies will be on sale. Co-hosted by Petworth Bookshop. Tickets: £20, Livestream: £10

Thursday, June 15, 6pm. STEVEN FRANK, CHILD SURVIVOR OF THE HOLOCAUST, SHARES HIS STORY, Chichester Marks Holocaust Memorial Day, Graylingwell Chapel, Chichester. Following the murder of his Dutch resistance member father in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943, Steven Frank, his mother and brothers were sent to three camps ending up in Theresienstadt in the Czech Republic. They were finally liberated in May 1945. In this talk he will share his extraordinary story. Tickets: £12.

Wednesday, June 21, 6.30pm. HOMECOMING WITH AUTHOR ISABEL ASHDOWN, Waterstones, Chichester. Bestselling Chichester author Isabel Ashdown returns to her hometown to celebrate and talk about her much-anticipated suspense novel Homecoming. Ticket price includes a copy of the book to be collected on the night (RRP £9.99). Tickets: £11.

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Saturday, June 24, 9am-5pm full day workshop. HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY NOVEL, Greg Mosse, West Dean College. Greg Mosse is a writer and encourager of writers and author of The Coming Darkness and The Maisie Cooper Mysteries as well as being a teacher of creative writing with thirty years’ experience. This dynamic whole-day workshop will transform the germ of an idea into a coherent and engaging plot. Tickets: £120.

Monday, June 26, 7.30pm. AN EVENING WITH SIMON BRETT, The Assembly Room, The Council House, North Street, Chichester. Renowned author Simon Brett talks about his life and work. His crime and thriller books, screenplays and radio writing and children’s works have proved immensely popular with all ages. Presented by Chichester’s twinning associations and followed by refreshments from France, Italy and Malta. Tickets £12.

Monday, July 3, 7pm. A NIGHT OUT WITH KATE MOSSE, The Novium Museum. Join Cicestrian and international bestselling author Kate Mosse for the exclusive Festival of Chichester launch of her new breath-taking novel The Ghost Ship. Inspired by the real-life story of pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, it’s an epic adventure story of revenge on the high seas, family secrets, a love story and courageous women fighting to survive in a man’s world. Tickets £10, to include a drink.

Sunday, July 2, 4pm. MEDICINE STORIES, SPIRIT SONGS, The Hamblin Centre, Bosham. Don’t miss award-winning Amanda Waring’s profound gift for storytelling, ceremony, sound healing and song in this heart-opening and transformative event. Tickets: £13, seniors: £11, students: £11


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June 24, 28, 30, July 6 and July 8, 7.30pm. HABEAS CORPUS, THE PERGOLA OPEN AIR THEATRE, West Dean Gardens. New Theatre Productions proudly present the play Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett; farcical fun containing adult humour, part of their traditional summer programme where tickets allow entry to West Dean Gardens from 5.30pm. Picnics are welcome. Amateur production by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd ( Tickets £10.

Saturday, June 24, 7pm. CHICHESTER CABARET CLUB, Dawn Gracie, Oaklands Pavilion. Chichester’s very own Cabaret Club is a high-octane seated evening of mayhem and music, featuring burlesque, drag and comedy from visiting acts booked by host and producer Dawn Gracie. Warning: not for the faint-hearted! Tickets £20.

Sunday, June 25, 7pm. ROMEO & JULIET – OPEN AIR PERFORMANCE, Chichester Cathedral – South West Lawn. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men invite you to join them for the classic love story Romeo & Juliet. With a history stretching back to William Shakespeare himself, they present this play with an all-male cast and Elizabethan costumes, music and dance. Tickets: £8, children £10. Box office: 0333 666 3366 or; enquiries: 0208 852 5761.

June 27, 29, July 1, 5 and 7, 7.30pm. OUTSIDE EDGE, THE PERGOLA OPEN AIR THEATRE, West Dean Gardens. New Theatre Productions proudly present Outside Edge, an entertaining cricketing comedy play by Richard Harris. Tickets allow entry to West Dean Gardens from 5.30pm. Picnics are welcome.

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​BOOK YOUR TICKETS. Online: Email: [email protected]. Box office: 01243 816525 or 775888. In person: The Novium, Tower Street, Chichester, PO19 1QH: a 1-minute walk from the Cathedral. For phone and in-person bookings the box office is open Tuesday to Friday 10am-4.30pm & Saturday 10am-5pm. Also open summer Sundays 10am-4pm starting June 18. Closed Mondays except bank holidays.