Chichester Festival Theatre summer season in full - announced today

Oliver! comes to Chichester Festival Theatre (contributed pic)Oliver! comes to Chichester Festival Theatre (contributed pic)
Oliver! comes to Chichester Festival Theatre (contributed pic)
​The productions coming up this spring and summer at Chichester Festival Theatre in the new season announced today are:

The Other Boleyn Girl by Mike Poulton, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, directed by Lucy Bailey. April 19-May 11, Festival Theatre.

Henry VIII’s court is a stage for love and treachery where the weapons of choice are sex, marriage and the executioner’s axe. As Henry’s mistress, Mary Boleyn is a pawn in her family’s lust for power. Queen Katherine of Aragon hasn’t produced a male heir, and Mary’s ruthless uncle scents the chance of putting his niece on the throne. But Henry’s wandering eye has fallen on another: Mary’s headstrong sister Anne, whose ambition not only threatens to destroy her bond with Mary and their brother George but shakes the foundation of Church and State. Can Mary take charge of her own fate?

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Based on Philippa Gregory’s internationally best-selling novel, The Other Boleyn Girl is a recreation of intrigue at the Tudor court – a racy and riveting drama of events that changed the course of English history. The cast includes Alex Kingston (Doctor Who, The Tempest RSC) as Lady Elizabeth, Freya Mavor (Industry, Skins) as Anne Boleyn, Lucy Phelps (Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare’s Globe, Measure for Measure RSC) as Mary Boleyn and Andrew Woodall (South Downs/The Browning Version, Fracked! CFT) as the Duke of Norfolk.

•The House Party by Laura Lomas, an adaptation of Miss Julie by August Strindberg, directed by Holly Race Roughan, a co-production with Headlong in association with Frantic Assembly. May 3-June 1, Minerva Theatre.

A wild party. A friendship. A cherished pet. And a night that changes everything. It’s Julie’s 18th birthday, and she’s throwing a party in her father’s extravagant townhouse. Her boyfriend has just dumped her, and her long-suffering best friend Christine is trying to pick up the pieces. As the revellers pile into the booze, down in the kitchen Christine and her boyfriend Jon – son of Julie’s cleaner – clear up and dare to dream of the future. But as the volume goes up and the shots go down, Julie concocts a twisted cocktail of privilege, desire and destruction. The cast includes Rachelle Diedericks (Our Generation, A View from the Bridge) as Christine. For ages 14+.

Coram Boy by Helen Edmundson, based on the novel by Jamila Gavin, directed by Anna Ledwich, May 24-June 15, Festival Theatre.

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Angels and abandoned children, glorious music and murder most foul whirl through this enthralling, moving and richly colourful tale of 18th-century England.

At Gloucester Cathedral, Alexander Ashbrook, heir to an aristocratic estate, has his heart set on becoming a composer; but his stern father refuses to listen and despite his love for the beautiful Melissa, flight seems his only option. Far darker conflicts are at play for Meshak, son of the brutal Otis Gardiner who preys on young unmarried mothers – promising to deliver their babies to Coram’s new Foundling Hospital but instead meting out a terrible fate.

Their stories entwine eight years later in London where two Coram orphans, Toby and Aaron, find themselves on parallel adventures, and the great Handel is at work on a new score, Messiah, embodying the hope of love and salvation over evil. For ages 12+.

The Caretaker by Harold Pinter, directed by Justin Audibert. June 8-July 13, Minerva Theatre.

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We’re in London, at the tail end of the 1950s, in a derelict room stuffed with junk, detritus and a bucket for the leaky ceiling. Enter two men: the room’s occupant, the gentle and damaged Aston, and Davies, a mercurial drifter whom Aston has brought in from the streets. Soon they’re joined by the building’s owner, Aston’s brother: the explosively unpredictable Mick…

Premiered in 1960, The Caretaker was Harold Pinter’s first major success and is now regarded as a landmark of 20th century drama, laced with astringent wit and unsentimental compassion. Justin Audibert, artistic director of Chichester Festival Theatre, directs.

The cast is Adam Gillen (Amadeus National Theatre, ITV’s Benidorm) as Aston; Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars, Six Characters in Search of an Author CFT, Faith Healer Almeida and Broadway) as Davies; and Jack Riddiford (Romeo and Juliet Almeida Theatre, Jerusalem West End) as Mick.

Oliver! book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, freely adapted from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, new revision by Cameron Mackintosh, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne. July 8-September 7, Festival Theatre.

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This new production of Lionel Bart’s iconic musical has been fully reconceived especially for CFT by director and choreographer Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh. The orphaned Oliver escapes the harsh Victorian workhouse and takes refuge in London’s murky underworld with the wily gang leader Fagin and his team of resourceful pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger. He finds a friend in the kind-hearted Nancy and when he’s wrongly arrested for stealing, Oliver meets an unexpected saviour; but is happiness truly within his grasp?

The cast includes Simon Lipkin (Guys and Dolls, Avenue Q) as Fagin, Shanay Holmes (Miss Saigon, The Bodyguard) as Nancy, Aaron Sidwell (Henry VI, Wicked) as Bill Sikes, Billy Jenkins (Les Misérables, BBC’s Dodger) as the Artful Dodger and Philip Franks (The Rocky Horror Show, Witness for the Prosecution) as Mr Brownlow.

The Promise, by Paul Unwin, directed by Jonathan Kent. July 19-August 17, Minerva Theatre. 1945. In a country exhausted and crippled by debt after six years of war, time is up for Winston Churchill’s Tories. With a rallying cry for change, Labour wins an astonishing, landslide election victory. Clement Attlee may be an unlikely prime minister and his cabinet of competing heavyweights – from the loyal Ernest Bevin to scheming Herbert Morrison – argue furiously about how to realise their manifesto: to make a welfare state, build millions of homes, reorganise dilapidated schools, and most dramatically, create a National Health Service that is free at the point of need.

Driven by the passionate and courageous radical Ellen Wilkinson, and the visionary firebrand Nye Bevan, a very British revolution is in the air. But in the face of bitter opposition, is this an audacious pledge of hope or a promise too far?

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John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, adapted for the stage by David Eldridge, directed by Jeremy Herrin. August 23-September 21, Minerva Theatre.

At the height of the Cold War, disillusioned British spy Alec Leamas is persuaded by the head of The Circus and veteran agent George Smiley to stay ‘in the cold’ for one last risky operation against the powerful leader of the East German Secret Service. But Leamas has committed a cardinal error: he’s fallen in love. After a lifetime of deception and betrayal, can there be room for humanity in the ruthlessly manipulative world of international espionage?

The first ever John le Carré novel to be adapted for the stage, this award-winning 1963 thriller has been hailed as a modern masterpiece.

Redlands, by Charlotte Jones, directed by Justin Audibert, September 20-October 18, Festival Theatre. A fictional account inspired by the famous Redlands trial of the Rolling Stones

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In the quiet market town of Chichester, the most famous members of the most infamous rock group in the world are on trial. 1967. At Keith Richards’ country house Redlands in deepest West Sussex, The Rolling Stones are enjoying a bohemian night in with the likes of Marianne Faithfull and George Harrison until the constabulary swoop down and charge Keith and Mick Jagger with drug offences. Only one man can defend the two icons of the 60s revolution: Michael Havers, leading QC and future attorney general. But the furore also brings into the spotlight his own relationship with his son, aspiring teenage actor Nigel Havers, who’s been drawn into Marianne’s orbit...

The Cat And The Canary, adapted by Carl Grose from the play by John Willard, directed by Paul Hunter, a co-production with Told by an Idiot, September 27-October 26, Minerva Theatre.

As midnight strikes, a storm rages over the wilds of Bodmin Moor. The surviving descendants of the long-deceased Cyrus West have gathered in his remote mansion to discover which of them is the chosen heir to his fortune. As the wind rattles the house, so does news that the most dangerous inmate from the nearby asylum is on the run. Menace lurks around every corner and nothing is what it seems…

The Cat and The Canary has woven its macabre fascination for more than 100 years. Carl Grose adapts John Willard’s period piece into a “deliciously terrifying and terrifyingly funny tale that will have you on the edge – or possibly right out – of your seat.” The cast includes Will Merrick (Skins, Dead Pixels).

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Hey! Christmas Tree, written by Vicki Berwick, from an original idea by Michael Morpurgo, directed by Dale Rooks, December 7-29, Minerva Theatre.

Enchanting, funny and heart-warming, this festive story about the importance of finding friendship and somewhere to call home was created especially for Chichester Festival Theatre by Michael Morpurgo. It’s promised as the perfect first festive theatre trip for three to seven-year-olds.

•Chichester Festival Youth Theatre presents Cinderella, written by Philip Wilson, music by Jason Carr, lyrics by Philip Wilson and Jason Carr, directed by Jon Pashley, December 17-31, Festival Theatre.

Transport yourself into a spellbinding new retelling of this classic folk tale, full of wonder and delight. Meet a wicked stepfamily, a handsome prince in search of a wife and a missing slipper… But wait: there are also three magical dresses, a wish-giving tree, and help for Cinderella from a very unexpected source.

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Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens: Saturday, February 24 (online and booking forms only); Tuesday, February 27 (phone and in person). Booking for groups and schools opens: Thursday, February 29. General booking opens: Saturday, March 2 (online only); Tuesday, March 5 (phone and in person). Tickets from £10; cft.org.uk; box office 01243 781312; prologue: £5 tickets for 16-30s.

Company includes Rachelle Diedericks, Philip Franks, Adam Gillen, Shanay Holmes, Billy Jenkins, Alex Kingston, Simon Lipkin, Freya Mavor, Ian McDiarmid, Will Merrick, Lucy Phelps, Jack Riddiford, Aaron Sidwell and Andrew Woodall.

13,000 £10 tickets across the season; 9,000 £5 Prologue tickets for 16 to 30-year-olds.