Chichester Festival Theatre expects business as usual as it confirms opening-play cast

Chichester Festival Theatre has confirmed the cast for the opening play of the 2020 season.

Henry Goodman in The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
Henry Goodman in The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

As things currently stand, the CFT is expecting the season to go ahead as planned.

David Calder, Nicholas Le Prevost and Anoushka Lucas will join Henry Goodman in The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, in David Edgar’s revised translation, directed by Jonathan Church, running at Chichester Festival Theatre from April 24-May 16.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Singer-songwriter Anoushka Lucas, whose performing credits include Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Theatre, will co-compose music for the production (with Matthew Scott) as well as appearing as a Balladeer.

The full company is Henry Goodman, Oscar Batterham, Ashley Byam, David Calder, Gunnar Cauthery, William Chubb, Branwell Donaghey, Pip Donaghy, Poppy Gilbert, Oliver Grant, Guy Hughes, Rosalind James, Nicholas Le Prevost, Anoushka Lucas, Jon Trenchard and Sharlene Whyte, with Quincy Miller-Cole, Raphael Higgins-Humes, Will Tarpey and Caleb Wood sharing the juvenile roles.

1609. Galileo Galilei is a teacher of mathematics at the University of Padua. The establishment orthodoxy – which he’s been teaching to private pupils for years – is that the sun revolves round the earth, which is the centre of the universe. The theory confirms the scriptures and pays the bills.

Now, with the help of a newly-invented telescope, Galileo is starting to look at the universe afresh. And the more he looks, the more he sees, including mountains on the moon and strange stars around Jupiter. His discoveries not only support the heretical idea that the earth moves round the sun, they give rise to urgent new questions too. What if the earth is just another star? And if the church is wrong about the heavens, might it be wrong about how things are here on earth?

Brilliant minds have been burnt alive for asking such questions. Because though this is the age of science and discovery, it is also the age of the Inquisition.

Bertolt Brecht revised his epic play about the battle between scientific reason, the power of religion, and human responsibility in response to the apocalyptic events of the middle of the twentieth century. David Edgar has revised and updated his translation for this production; his adaptations also include Nicholas Nickleby and The Master Builder, both seen at CFT.

Making a return to Chichester are director Jonathan Church, who was artistic director 2006-16; and Henry Goodman who plays the title role, following his appearances in Yes, Prime Minister (2010) and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2012-13).

David Calder, whose extensive theatre work recently includes the title role in Julius Caesar (Bridge Theatre), makes his Chichester debut as The Cardinal Inquisitor. Nicholas Le Prevost (Sagredo/Cardinal Bellarmin) returns to the Festival Theatre, where his most recent appearance was in A Marvellous Year for Plums (2012).

The Life of Galileo will be designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Matthew Scott and Anoushka Lucas, sound by Paul Groothuis, video by Dick Straker, movement by Jenny Arnold, associate director Jenny Ogilvie, casting by Juliet Horsley and children’s casting by Verity Naughton.

Tickets on or 01243 781312.