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Chichester Festival Theatre

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Designation  Grade II* listed
Opened  1962
Founder  Leslie Evershed-Martin
Capacity  1,206
Phone  +44 1243 781312
Chichester Festival Theatre
Architect  Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya
Address  Oaklands Park, Chichester PO19 6AP, UK
Similar  Royal National Theatre, Noël Coward Theatre, The Old Vic, Theatre Royal Haymarket, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
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Merry christmas from everyone at chichester festival theatre


Chichester Festival Theatre, located in Chichester, Sussex, England, was designed by Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya, and opened by its founder Leslie Evershed-Martin in 1962. Subsequently the smaller and more intimate Minerva Theatre was built nearby in 1989.

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The inaugural Artistic Director was Sir Laurence Olivier, and it was at Chichester that the first National Theatre company was formed. Chichester's productions would transfer to the NT's base at the Old Vic in London. The opening productions in 1962 were: The Chances by John Fletcher (first production 1638) which opened on 3 July; The Broken Heart (1633), by John Ford, opened 9 July; Uncle Vanya (1896), by Anton Chekov, opened 16 July. Among the actors in the opening season were: Lewis Casson, Fay Compton, Joan Greenwood, Rosemary Harris, Kathleen Harrison, Keith Michell, André Morell, John Neville, Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Michael Redgrave, Athene Seyler, Sybil Thorndike and Peter Woodthorpe.

The Festival Season usually runs from April to September and includes productions from classics to contemporary writing and musicals.

During this time the theatre also puts on outdoor promenade performances and organises other festival events including cabaret and comedy nights. A range of events is designed to add to the experience of visiting the theatre, including platform events, family days, tours and talks.

The theatre is currently run as a registered charity and is chaired by Sir William Castell. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Half a sixpence chichester festival theatre


Artistic directors

  • Sir Laurence Olivier (1962–1965)
  • Sir John Clements (1966–1973)
  • Keith Michell (1974–1977)
  • Peter Dews (1978–1980)
  • Patrick Garland (1981–1984)
  • John Gale (1985–1989)
  • Michael Rudman (1990)
  • Patrick Garland (1991–1994)
  • Sir Derek Jacobi and Duncan C. Weldon (1995–1997)
  • Andrew Welch (1998–2002)
  • Martin Duncan, Ruth Mackenzie and Steven Pimlott (2003–2005)
  • Jonathan Church (2006–2016)
  • Daniel Evans (from July 2016)
  • 2017 season

  • Forty Years On - by Alan Bennett
  • Caroline, or Change - book and lyrics by Tony Kushner, music by Jeanine Tesori
  • Sweet Bird of Youth - by Tennessee Williams
  • The Country Girls - by Edna O'Brien
  • Fiddler on the Roof - book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Brock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
  • The House They Grew Up In - a new play by Deborah Bruce
  • Grimm Tales - For Young and Old - Chichester Festival Youth Theatre
  • The Stepmother - by Githa Sowerby
  • The Norman Conquests - a trilogy of plays - Table Manners, Living Together, Round and Round the Garden - by Alan Ayckbourn
  • King Lear - by William Shakespeare
  • Quiz - a new play by James Graham
  • Beauty and the Beast - Chichester Festival Youth Theatre
  • References

    Chichester Festival Theatre Wikipedia


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