Chichester Festival Theatre will reopen with its summer musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, from 5 July to 4 September 2021, with a press night on 13 July. The production will also be streamed online, with dates to be announced.
This new production of South Pacific is directed by CFT’s artistic director Daniel Evans whose previous Chichester productions include This Is My Family, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof.
Executive director Kathy Bourne and AD Daniel Evans said:
“We know that Chichester’s summer musical is a highlight of the year for people locally, regionally and nationally. South Pacific should have been the centrepiece of Festival 2020; we couldn’t be more thrilled that it will finally open this July, with a superb cast and creative team who’ve waited a year to bring it to fruition.
“While South Pacific will initially be booking with a reduced capacity auditorium and a dedicated socially distanced performance every week, our hope is that, later in 2021, we will see the return of non-socially distanced audiences with a renewed confidence and appetite for live performance. We’ll announce further productions for Festival 2021 later this spring.”
The cast, led by Gina Beck (Nellie Forbush), Julian Ovenden (Emile de Becque) Joanna Ampil (Bloody Mary), Keir Charles (Luther Billis) and Rob Houchen (Joe Cable), also includes Iroy Abesamis, Carl Au, Rosanna Bates, David Birrell, Taylor Bradshaw, Bobbie Chambers, Danny Collins, Shailan Gohil, Adrian Grove, Zack Guest, Matthew Maddison, Sera Maehara (as Liat), Melissa Nettleford, Kate Playdon, Pierce Rogan and Clancy Ryan.
Set and costume designer Peter McKintosh is joined in the creative team by choreographer and movement director Ann Yee. Musical direction is by Cat Beveridge, with musical supervision by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Paul Groothuis, additional arrangements by Theo Jamieson and casting by Charlotte Sutton.
Currently, Step 4 of the government’s roadmap anticipates the removal of all legal limits on social contact and the reopening of full theatre auditoriums from 21 June, subject to successful pilot test events taking place in April and May. Accordingly, South Pacific will go on sale with a reduced capacity auditorium (approximately 900, as opposed to 1300) in order to ease congestion in the foyers and public spaces, with a view to moving to full capacity as soon as government guidelines permit. Enhanced cleaning, hand sanitising and the wearing of face coverings at all times in the theatre will be in place.
In addition, there will be one specially designated socially distanced performance every week – complete with the Covid-safety measures introduced last autumn, including timed arrivals and temperature checks – for those audience members who would prefer to remain socially distanced for the foreseeable future.
Before then, a film of Sarah Kane’s CRAVE, created from Tinuke Craig’s acclaimed production, will open on 18 May and will then be available on demand from 19-29 May.
This is a chance for audiences at home to experience a specially made film of the production that defied lockdown. Crave was live-streamed to thousands in 50 countries around the globe as the cast of four performed in an empty auditorium. This film is a new edit of the live-stream, with remastered sound and incorporating new footage from filmmaker Ravi Deepres.
Erin Doherty, Alfred Enoch, Wendy Kweh and Jonathan Slinger are the cast in Craig’s production, which is designed by Alex Lowde, with lighting by Joshua Pharo, composition and sound by Anna Clock, film by Ravi Deepres, movement by Jenny Ogilvie and casting by Charlotte Sutton. Filmed by The Umbrella Rooms.