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.
Recent transfers from Chichester (as originating producer) include Caroline, Or Change (London’s Hampstead Theatre and the West End’s Playhouse Theatre 2018/19); Ian McKellen in King Lear, which transferred to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre in 2018 and was broadcast to cinemas internationally by NT Live; and Daniel Evans’s production of Quiz, a new play by James Graham, which also transferred to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre in 2018.
During 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) productions originating from Chichester were due be seen across the globe. Laura Wade’s new play The Watsons, adapted from the unfinished novel by Jane Austen, was scheduled to run at London's Harold Pinter Theatre from 8 May – 26 September 2020; Caroline, Or Change was due to transfer to New York’s Roundabout Theatre in spring 2020, with Sharon D. Clarke recreating her Olivier Award-winning performance as Caroline. An autumn UK tour of Quiz was planned as well as Singin’ in the Rain at Sadler’s Wells and Japan.
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.
Chairman: Sir William Castell
Artistic Director: Daniel Evans
Executive Director: Kathy Bourne