Chichester Festival Youth Theatre


A new adaptation by Anna Ledwich   
Music by Tom Brady
From the original novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Festival Theatre
Family Friendly
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A hope-filled ending to a dismal year

Daily Telegraph

Sumptuous, impressive, a truly lovely show


Huge on colour and imagination, huge on energy, skill and humour and above all brim-full of heart

Chichester Observer

This Chichester wonderland is truly awe-inspiring

West Sussex County Times

Outstanding. This company never fails to deliver

Portsmouth News

Chichester Festival Theatre has one of the finest youth theatres in the country and this show proves it – again. Terrific


Geppetto the boatmaker tosses aside a piece of wood; it’s only good for the fire. To his amazement, a voice answers him back. Geppetto picks up the wood and begins to carve – and a small wooden boy is revealed. A puppet, which he names Pinocchio.

And that’s when the mayhem begins. Pinocchio can’t stop getting into trouble, despite the best efforts of the Blue Fairy and the Cricket to keep him on track. His intentions may be good – he truly wants to go to school like real boys and girls – but the temptation to discover the wonders of the world and make his fortune keep getting in the way.

Pinocchio encounters a host of fascinating characters, from Punch and Judy to the wily Fox and Cat and the strange Sea Monster, as he journeys to Wonderland and the world beneath the sea. But he discovers that it isn’t easy hiding the truth – especially when your nose gets longer with every lie you tell…

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre present a brand new version of this classic tale, written especially for them by CFT’s Writer in Residence Anna Ledwich. Her previous work at Chichester includes The Butterfly Lion (2019), Crossing Lines (2019) and Beauty and the Beast (2018).

Director Dale Rooks, whose work at Chichester includes The Butterfly LionThe Midnight Gang and Running Wild, will bring her trademark visual flair and gift for storytelling to this darkly magical reinvention.

Purchase a digital copy of the programme

Our programmes are designed to be the perfect insightful companion to the production. This programme includes an exclusive interview with Director Dale Rooks and Writer in Residence Anna Ledwich, who has adapted Pinocchio for CFT. Also included are beautiful drawings of the costumes by designer Ryan Dawson Laight and some fun puzzles to keep you busy during the interval! There is also rehearsal photography and biographies of the creative team.

By clicking on BUY you will be re-directed to Issuu's website.

Purchasing a digital programme does not include the purchase of a printed programme.





Pinocchio at Chichester Festival Theatre is a hope-filled ending to a dismal year. This is no half-measures family show, but a pleasing new musical version (book by Anna Ledwich, music by Tom Brady) lasting a satisfying 90 minutes and harnessing the might of Chichester Youth Theatre. There’s a slickness about the result that would put a fair few professional companies to shame.

Daily Telegraph

[A] sumptuous production of Pinocchio, performed by the theatre’s impressive youth company. Steeped in a strange, dreamy magic and Dale Rooks’ production, played out on a wooden set that’s part toy box, part circus wagon, part puppet theatre and accompanied by Tom Brady’s uncanny, melodious score, seems to live in its own suspended enchantment, like a moment out of time. A truly lovely show.


Magnificent, a show which wraps you up in a wonderful virtual hug which somehow feels even better than the real ones we are denied. It is huge on colour and imagination, huge on energy, skill and humour and above all brim-full of heart. As ever, the youth theatre – directed with trademark compassion and intelligence by Dale Rooks – leads the way. The youngsters and everyone involved have responded by giving us something that goes beyond special.

Chichester Observer

The sheer achievement of putting on any show, let alone of this quality and class, physically moved me to tears.

West Sussex County Times

It has long been my contention that Chichester Festival Theatre has one of the finest youth theatres in the country and this show proves it – again. What a professional job they do with Anna Ledwich’s fresh, affirmative script. With set design by Simon Higlett and costume by Ryan Dawson Laight it all looks terrific.


This company never fails to deliver. The music, by Tom Brady, reminds of Sondheim and Stephen Flaherty in its complexity (Sondheim) and its ability to uplift (Flaherty). The cast themselves are outstanding. Go visit, lockdown-rules allowing and, if not, get online and stream it to your living-room.

Portsmouth News

The production team, under Director Dale Rooks, have come up with an enchanting spectacle that delights and entertains throughout. The set is cleverly inventive as are the dazzling costumes. A piece of live theatre that leaves one with the feeling that Christmas starts now.

Brighton Argus

Cast & Creatives

Creative team

Cast List

Anna Ledwich


Tom Brady


Dale Rooks


Simon Higlett

Set Designer

Ryan Dawson Laight

Costume Designer

James Whiteside

Lighting Designer

Colin Billing

Musical Director

Gregory Clarke

Sound Designer

Lauren Grant

Movement Director




Pricing Information

Price bands for an event, organised by showing
Performance description Price Bands
  • Groups 8+: 10% off
  • Schools and Student groups 10+: £8.50 per ticket; one free teacher ticket with every nine paid
  • £5 Prologue Tickets may be available for 16-30 year olds: Log in to your account to see Prologue seats
  • Access tickets may be available for Access Members: Log in to your account to see Access seats
  • All venues: Only one reduction applies per ticket, and all discounts are subject to availability and at the discretion of the Box Office.
  • Festival Theatre: Discounts apply to top three price bands only
  • Donate a Seat: To help us get back to full strength as soon as we can, please consider supporting us by donating an empty seat for £10. Every pound you donate will help to support the Theatre’s activities, as well as our employment of freelance artists during the pandemic. Thank you for your support.

Step into Wonderland

Simon Higlett has designed sets for many of CFT’s productions including the last six CFYT Christmas productions. Here he tells us about the sustainable set for Pinocchio:

‘It’s always a challenge to create a set for the Youth Theatre production as there are so many performers in the company. For Pinocchio there are 28 children in each cast and they are socially-distanced on stage, so that doesn’t leave a lot of room for much else!

‘The Pinocchio script is incredibly detailed, with a lot of different worlds depicted. Just before starting work to design the set, I’d watched The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, one of my favourite Terry Gilliam films, which has a travelling theatrical troupe in it; and I thought that idea could work for Pinocchio.

‘Our production manager came up with the idea of using a farm cart and he found one locally in Steyning. It works perfectly, but it wasn’t an easy process to get it to become what we wanted! The positive of using a working farm cart is that you can tow it, so we’ve built onto the cart and the plan is to reuse it for outdoor or travelling theatre productions in the future. Repurposing existing objects is often a lot more work, but we were really keen for this production to be as sustainably sourced as possible.

‘Creating the show has to be a collaborative approach. Everyone from the performers, writer, director, choreographer, to the set and costume designers, wardrobe, lighting, stage management and technical teams all work together to create the finished product presented on the stage and to bring the world of Pinocchio to life.’

Pinocchio runs at CFT from 16 December – 2 January; family tickets and £10 tickets are available on all performances.

Creating the costumes

Take a look at just a few of the wonderful costumes designs by Ryan Dawson Laight and look out for them in the show! We caught up with designer Ryan Dawson Laight to get an insight into how he's worked towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly costumes for Pinocchio

"When creating the costumes we made a huge effort to work with recycled and repurposed materials, as well as looking at the suppliers and outlets we sourced from and their ethical practices, to keep the environmental impact as low as we can."

"We worked with local charity Glad Rags Costumes, to repurpose some of their stock that at the end of this show will go back to them for further use. We’ve also worked with Cotton Avocado who use eco-friendly dyes such as chestnuts, avocado and onion skins."  

Costumes top to bottom: Wonderland Ticket Seller, Donkey, Cricket and Geppetto (C) Ryan Dawson Laight

Check out these and many more wonderful costumes in Pinocchio from 18 December - 1 January.

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Age Guidance 
Ages 7+
Running Time
Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, with no interval