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.
Three highlights of the Festival 2017 season transferred to London in 2018: the musical Caroline, or Change (which transferred to London’s Hampstead Theatre in March 2018 and ran at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre from November 2018); Ian McKellen in King Lear, which transferred to the West End in July 2018 and was broadcast to cinemas internationally by NT Live; and Daniel Evans’s production of Quiz, a new play by James Graham, which transferred to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre in April 2018.
Other 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).
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.