1996: When We Are Married
A triumph of the 1996 season was a production of JB Priestley’s comedy When We Are Married about three respectable Yorkshire couples who find out on their silver anniversaries that their marriages are unauthorised.
Artistic Director Duncan Weldon had already produced the show back in 1970 at the Strand Theatre, one of over 200 productions he had been responsible for in the West End in the years prior to joining CFT. Like his predecessor Keith Michell, Weldon became known for bringing some of the finest stage and television actors to CFT. This was certainly the case for When We Are Married starring Dawn French and two of her fellow cast members from the BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, Roger Lloyd Pack and Gary Waldhorn, alongside Annette Badland, Chris Larkin, Alison Steadman and Leo McKern.
Directed by Jude Kelly, the play had a sell-out run in the Festival Theatre; tickets were hot property with queues right the way round the Theatre most nights. It transferred to the Savoy Theatre in London later that year. Max Davies, Chairman of the Productions Board remembers: 'Duncan struck gold, no doubt about it' (Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty).