Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2018 season, announced today, will feature new plays by Laura Wade and Charlotte Jones and revivals of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and musical Flowers For Mrs Harris.
Artistic director Daniel Evans will once again direct Rachel Wagstaff and Richard Taylor’s Flowers For Harris, based on the novel by Paul Gallico, having done so previously in Sheffield where it won three UK Theatre Awards including Best Musical.
Clare Burt will re-create her award-winning performance as Mrs Harris in the show which plays at the Festival Theatre from 8 to 29 September 2018. Also in the cast will be Joanna Riding and Gary Wilmot.
Evans will also direct a revival of L Arthur Rose, Douglas Furber and Noel Gay’s musical Me and My Girl (2 July to 25 August at the Festival Theatre), with Caroline Quentin making her Chichester debut as the Duchess of Dene.
Designs will be by Lez Brotherston, with choreography by Alistair David (re-creating the team behind Festival 2017’s hit musical Fiddler On the Roof).
Wade’s new play The Watsons, adapted from the unfinished novel by Jane Austen, will run at the Minerva Theatre from 3 November to 1 December 2018 and will be directed by Samuel West.
Wade’s hit play Posh transferred to the West End from the Royal Court, and then onto the big screen as The Riot Club. Her play Home I’m Darling premieres at Theatr Clwyd and the National Theatre in 2018.
West returns to Chichester, where he has appeared in Young Chekhov and ENRON, and directed Three Women and A Piano Tuner (2004).
The Meeting, a new play by Charlotte Jones, will be directed by Natalie Abrahami in the Minerva (13 July to 11 August). Jones’ award-winning play Humble Boy transferred to the West End and Broadway following a sell-out run at the National Theatre.
Among the revivals of classic and contemporary dramas, Sean Foley will direct Rufus Hound in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter (Festival Theatre, 20 April to 12 May 2018); while Michael Blakemore will stage a 20th anniversary production of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen in the Minerva (17 to 22 September 2018), featuring Charles Edwards (Downton Abbey, This House at the National) as Heisenberg and Paul Jesson (Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, RSC) as Bohr.
Penelope Keith, Amanda Root and Oliver Ford Davies lead the cast of Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden, directed by Alan Strachan (25 May to 16 June, Festival Theatre).
Also part of the season are Cock by Mike Bartlett, directed by Kate Hewitt in the Minerva (28 September to 27 October 2018) and random/generations – a double bill of plays by Debbie Tucker Green, directed by Tinuke Craig, also in the same venue from 4 May to 2 June 2018.
Jonathan Munby returns to Chichester following his huge success with King Lear (Festival 2017, West End 2018) to direct The Country Wife by William Wycherley with actress Susannah Fielding making her Chichester debut as Margery Pinchwife.
Byrony Lavery (Frozen) will adapt David Walliams’ hugely successful children’s book Midnight Gang, with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe. Directed by Dale Rooks, the production will run from 13 October to 3 November 2018 in the Festival Theatre and will be suitable for ages 7+.
Chichester Festival Youth Theatre will present Sleeping Beauty by Rufus Norris, from The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods by Charles Perrault from 15 to 30 December 2018, also in the Festival Theatre.
Three Chichester Festival Theatre 2017 productions will be running in London this year. Michael Longhurst’s production of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, Or Change transfers to Hampstead Theatre from 12 March to 21 April, with Sharon D Clarke; James Graham’s new play Quiz, directed by Evans, runs at the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre from 31 March to 16 June; and Ian McKellen reprises his acclaimed King Lear in Jonathan Munby’s production at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 11 July to 3 November. In addition, James Graham’s This House (Festival 2016) tours the UK until 2 June.
Evans and executive director Rachel Tackley said: “This season we will achieve a 50:50 gender balance in our acting company, which includes some of the most exciting and beloved names in British theatre. We’re pleased to have over 20,000 tickets available at £10 in the Festival Theatre – double the number of previous years and now available at every performance; and the price of tickets for our rapidly growing Prologue scheme for 16 to 25 year olds remains at £5.
“During 2017 we reached 62,000 people aged 0 to 92 through our community and education outreach programmes; among these is our recently launched CFT Buddies scheme, providing a companion for elderly or socially isolated people.”