Latest lockdown streamings announced for Chichester Festival Theatre

David Walliams’s The Midnight Gang and the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast (adapted by Anna Ledwich, music and lyrics by Richard Taylor) will be the next productions to be streamed online from Chichester Festival Theatre.

The Midnight Gang - photo by Manuel Harlan
The Midnight Gang - photo by Manuel Harlan

Especially suitable for family audiences from ages seven and up, both will be available on CFT’s website for 30 days, starting with The Midnight Gang from April 30 and then Beauty and the Beast from May 21, and will be free to watch.

To connect with as many people as possible in the community, both productions will be captioned for Deaf/deaf and hard of hearing audiences, and Polish-language captions will also be available. Audio introductions will help set the scene for blind and partially sighted audiences.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

David Walliams’s The Midnight Gang, adapted by Bryony Lavery with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe, premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2018, directed by Dale Rooks.

This inventive tale of fun, friendship and the importance of kindness, about a gang of children who each night escape from their hospital beds to make their dreams come true, is adapted from David Walliams’s biggest-selling children’s book of 2016.

The recording is taken from a live stream made at the time to Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice near Arundel, and the children’s wards at Chichester’s St Richard’s Hospital and Worthing Hospital.

A bang on the head during a cricket match at his boarding school has landed twelve-year-old Tom in the children’s ward of the spooky Lord Funt Hospital. Luckily, he’s not on his own with the child-hating Matron and the scary-looking Porter. George, Amber, Robin and Sally are in there too, and they’re not taking things lying down. When the lights go out and the clock strikes twelve, they’re off. But will they let new boy Tom join their forbidden midnight adventures through the hospital’s labyrinthine realm?

Bryony Lavery’s many stage adaptations include Chichester’s hit family shows The Hundred and One Dalmatians and A Christmas Carol, and the world premiere adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Music and lyrics are by renowned musician and composer Joe Stilgoe, whose work also includes the songs for the 2017 theatrical staging of The Jungle Book.

An education resource pack will be available for parents and teachers wanting to use the online broadcast as a learning experience for children or students, containing background to the production and ideas for discussions and creative activities linked to the show.

Beauty And The Beast is the next streaming.

Rather than a traditional pantomime, Chichester is the only major theatre in the country to hand over its main stage to its Youth Theatre for the Christmas production, which is produced to the same high standard as Festival offerings and with a professional creative team.

In 2017, the award-winning Chichester Festival Youth Theatre presented a brand-new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast by Anna Ledwich (The Butterfly Lion) from the original fairy tale, with music and lyrics by Richard Taylor (Flowers for Mrs Harris).

A cursed prince sits alone in an enchanted castle, destined to remain in monstrous form until he can learn to love and be loved in return. But who could ever love a Beast? Prejudice, jealousy, compassion and love are woven through this magical story, studded with enchanting and deliciously scary characters. The production is suitable for ages 7+.

Dale Rooks, whose work with CFYT includes Grimm Tales, Running Wild and Peter Pan, directs a cast of 72 young people in a visually spectacular show, with set design by Simon Higlett, costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by James Whiteside, arrangements by Richard Taylor, musical direction by Colin Billing, sound by Gregory Clarke, movement by Lizzie Gee and puppetry by Nick Barnes.

The Midnight Gang will be streamed from 1pm on Thursday, April 30 and available to watch online until Friday, May 29 at

Beauty and the Beast will be streamed from 1pm on Thursday, May 21 and available until Friday, June 19 at

There’s one more week to watch Flowers for Mrs Harris which is available until May 8 at


A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.

Gary Shipton

Editorial Director