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; a studio theatre, the Minerva Theatre, sits nearby.
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.
Daniel Evans and Rachel Tackley joined the organisation as Artistic Director and Executive Director respectively in 2016. Three highlights of their first Festival season in 2017 will transfer to London this year: the musical Caroline, or Change which runs at Hampstead Theatre from March; James Graham's new play Quiz, which transfers to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre from April; and Ian McKellen in King Lear, which runs at the Duke of York's Theatre from July.
Recent West End transfers from Chichester (as originating producer) 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). Christmas 2015 saw the first television broadcast of Gypsy with Imelda Staunton, shown on BBC4. Filmed during its West End run at the Savoy Theatre, the broadcast was watched by over half a million viewers and is now available on DVD.
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 800 members.