Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the UK’s flagship theatres, renowned for the exceptionally high standard of its productions as well as its work with the community and young people. Situated in a cathedral city in West Sussex between the South Downs and the sea, the Festival Theatre’s bold thrust stage design makes it one of England’s most striking playhouses – equally suited to epic drama and musicals. Its studio theatre, the Minerva, is particularly noted for premieres of new work alongside intimate revivals.
The annual Festival season runs from April to November, during which productions originated at Chichester reach an audience of over 230,000. Year-round programming continues through the winter with the Theatre presenting high-class touring productions, as well as a traditional Christmas show mounted by the renowned Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.
Over the past six decades, myriad productions originated at Chichester have transferred to the West End or toured nationally and internationally, from musicals to significant new plays and classic revivals. Recent London transfers from Chichester include Tony Kushner & Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, Or Change at Hampstead and the Playhouse Theatre (with Sharon D. Clarke currently recreating her Olivier Award-winning performance as Caroline at New York’s Roundabout Theatre); Singin’ in the Rain at Sadler’s Wells; Ian McKellen in King Lear (also broadcast to cinemas internationally by NT Live) and James Graham’s new play Quiz,both at the Noël Coward Theatre; and Laura Wade’s new play The Watsons, adapted from the unfinished novel by Jane Austen, at the Menier Chocolate Factory (a further West End run was derailed by the pandemic).
Other Chichester productions seen in the West End in recent years include Half A Sixpence (Noël Coward Theatre), Young Chekhov (National Theatre), Running Wild (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Savoy Theatre), Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Gypsy (Savoy Theatre), Stevie (Hampstead Theatre), Private Lives (Gielgud Theatre) and Sweeney Todd (Adelphi Theatre).
Rooted firmly in its community, the Theatre runs a Learning, Education and Participation (LEAP) programme that is a beacon of excellence and inspiration to its local audience, as well as being home to one of the country’s largest youth theatres with over 750 members.
For more information, visit cft.org.uk
Chairman Sir William Castell
Executive Director Kathy Bourne
Artistic Director Daniel Evans