Chichester season 2020

NEWS: Sherlock creators Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss collaborate in Chichester Festival Season packed with world premieres

In Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases, Regional theatre, Sticky by Press Releases

Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2020 has today been unveiled by artistic director Daniel Evans and executive director Kathy Bourne. World premieres include first plays by Steven Moffat and Kate Mosse and new work by Suhayla El-Bushra and Christopher Shinn.

Tickets are being held at 2019 prices with 20,000 tickets at £10 in the Festival Theatre and over 10,000 £5 Prologue tickets for 16 to 25 year olds.

Highlights include

Five world premieres:

  • The Unfriend by Steven Moffat, with Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith, directed by Mark Gatiss
  • The Long Song, a new adaptation by Suhayla El-Bushra based on Andrea Levy’s novel, directed by Charlotte Gwinner, with Cherrelle Skeete
  • The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse, directed by Jonathan Munby
  • The Narcissist by Christopher Shinn, directed by Ola Ince
  • A new adaptation of Pinocchio by Anna Ledwich for the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

Two musicals:

  • Daniel Evans directs Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific with Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden, Joanna Ampil and Rob Houchen
  • Assassins by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, directed by Polly Findlay

Major revivals of great modern dramas:

  • Jonathan Church directs Henry Goodman in Brecht’s The Life of Galileo
  • Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh
  • Richard Coyle and Lisa Dillon in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, directed by Simon Evans
  • The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner, directed by Nicole Charles
  • Sarah Kane’s Crave, directed by Tinuke Craig

Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne said:

‘We are proud to have some of the UK’s most exciting artists working with us in Chichester in 2020. This year we’re achieving a 50:50 gender balance in our playwrights, and we’re thrilled to have five world premieres

We’re reintroducing repertory for two productions this autumn, with Kate Mosse’s The Taxidermist’s Daughter alongside Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins in the Festival Theatre. Assassins also plays opposite Christopher Shinn’s The Narcissist in the Minerva: both shedding an entertaining and probing light on American politics and psyche, as the US approaches the presidential election.”

Festival 2020 productions – April to October

The Life Of Galileo

Festival Theatre, 24 April to 16 May 2020 (press night is 29 April)
David Edgar has revised and updated his translation of Bertolt Brecht’s text for this production. Making welcome returns to Chichester are director Jonathan Church (artistic director 2006-16) and Henry Goodman who plays the title role.

The Real Thing

Minerva Theatre, 7 May to 6 June 2020, Minerva Theatre (press night is 13 May)
Richard Coyle makes his Chichester debut as Henry in The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard, while Lisa Dillon returns to play Annie. Simon Evans directs.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Festival Theatre, 29 May to 20 June 2020 (press night is 3 June)
Jay Presson Allen’s bold, searching and funny play, written in 1966, was adapted from the 1961 novel by Muriel Spark. Rachel Kavanaugh directs.

The Village Bike

Minerva Theatre, 12 June to 4 July 2020 (press night is 19 June)
Written by Penelope Skinner, it was a big hit when it opened in London in 2011, winning George Devine and Evening Standard Awards. Director Nicole Charles returns to Chichester to direct, following her five-star production of Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (2019). Becky is played by Esther Smith.

South Pacific

Festival Theatre, 6 July to 29 August 2020 (press night is 14 July)
South Pacific
has music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan. Making their Chichester debuts are Gina Beck as Nellie, Julian Ovenden as Emile, Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary and Rob Houchen as Cable. This new production is directed by artistic director Daniel Evans.

The Unfriend

(Minerva Theatre, 17 July to 22 August 2020 (press night is 22 July)
A new play by Steven Moffat, The Unfriend takes an entertaining and satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct always to appear nice. Manners can be murder. Moffat is an award-winning writer, whose hit television series include Doctor Who, Sherlock and Dracula – the latter two co-written with the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who makes his directorial debut. In the cast are Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith.

The Long Song

Minerva Theatre, 28 August to 26 September 2020 (press night is 3 September)
The Long Song is adapted from Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel by Suhayla El-Bushra. Cherrelle Skeete plays July and the cast also includes Maggie Service as Caroline Mortimer. Charlotte Gwinner directs.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Festival Theatre, playing in repertoire, 12 September to 30 October (press night is 18 September)
The Taxidermist’s Daughter
is a Gothic mystery set in and around historic Chichester. This world premiere is written by Cicestrian Kate Mosse, based on her best-selling novel and is directed by Jonathan Munby.


Festival Theatre, playing in repertoire, 29 September to 31 October 2020, (press night is 5 October)
This new production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony Award-winning musical marks Sondheim’s 90th birthday year. Director Polly Findlay makes her CFT debut.

The Narcissist

Minerva Theatre, 2 to 24 October 2020 (press night is 8 October)
This new play by Christopher Shinn is a gripping, inventive and witty take on personal and political communication in the internet age, directed by Ola Ince.


The Spiegeltent, 16 to 31 October 2020 (press night is 22 October)
Sarah Kane’s play Crave will be staged in the Spiegeltent, which returns to Chichester following the success of 2019’s Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads. It will be directed by Tinuke Craig.

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Press Releases on Twitter
Press Releases
MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.