About Fisherman's Friends
"All roads lead to The Fisherman's Friends!" So said that doyen of musical cool Jo Whiley on the BBC's Glastonbury coverage this year just after the boys had sung their Cornish hearts out on the Avalon Stage to rapturous applause from a packed crowd.
And who can argue? Last year they sold 50,000 tickets in their own right, on top of the 250,000 sold for Fisherman's Friends: The Musical, while their two feature films have grossed $15 million at the UK box office.
Add to that their ten albums, a BBC Folk Award, best selling book, TV documentary and prestigious performances from The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations to Hyde Park Proms in the Park and 80,000 rugby fans at Twickenham... all while holding down day jobs.
As they prepare to hit the road next year for a string of dates that includes the Royal Albert Hall, The Fisherman's Friends are excited to get back to what they do best - singing for their supper.
"That's where we belong, singing live. It's all about sharing the songs we love with the people we love to see, our wonderful audiences up and down the land," says founder member, bass man Jon Cleave - Cleavie to his ship mates.
Fans can expect a trademark catch of sea shanties and maritime work songs from a repertoire of almost 200 titles as The Fisherman's Friends are joined by two new musicians, Marcus Bonfanti and Simon Johnson, playing a collection of instruments including bass, banjo, mandolin and resonator guitar.
The theatre tour gets underway on 19 January by the sea in Chichester and plots a course around the country to finish in Poole on 12 May, back within sight of the sea. After a summer break the band pick it up in Birmingham on 5 September and on to Gateshead, Manchester, Bristol, two shows in Truro, Brighton, London, Cambridge, York and Edinburgh.
It all seems a very long way from the group of fishermen and their friends who first gathered in 1990 in a sitting room in their native Port Isaac to sing the Cornish songs of the sea that were part of their lives. It took a while, but before long they were 'discovered' by the wider world, caught a million-pound record deal, and gate crashed the charts with a Top 10 album in 2010 to begin a well-charted voyage of discovery.
And through it all they've remained exactly what they were when it all began back in that sitting room in Port Isaac - fishermen and their friends.
The Fisherman's Friends are: lobster fisherman Jeremy Brown, author and shopkeeper Jon Cleave, smallholder and engineer John ‘Lefty’ Lethbridge, builder John McDonnell (a Yorkshireman who visited Port Isaac more than 30 years ago and never left), Padstow fisherman Jason Nicholas, filmmaker Toby Lobb and potter Billy Hawkins, they will also be joined by two very talented musicians Marcus Bonfanti and Simon Johnson.
Book early for the best prices
Winter 2023/24 prices are guaranteed until Monday 9 October and are then subject to change
Tickets are non-refundable.
If you return your tickets to the Box Office at least 48 hours before the performance, you can exchange your tickets for the same production on another date (subject to availability). There is a £1.50 exchange fee per ticket (free for Friends).
Only one reduction applies per ticket, and all discounts are subject to availability and at the discretion of the Box Office.
Discounts do not apply to Previews and Press Nights
Access tickets may be available for Access Members
Log in to your account to see Access seats. Select the relevant Access tickets in the basket to receive your discount (where applicable).
£5 Prologue Tickets may be available for 16-30 year olds
Log in to your account to see Prologue seats
By public transport
To plan your journey from door to door on public transport visit traveline.info for the quickest route.
Chichester Station is a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute taxi ride away, with regular direct links to London Victoria, Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, and Gatwick Airport. Connect to London Waterloo trains at nearby Havant. Visit nationalrail.co.uk or call 08457 484950 for timetables, restricted services and other details.
Walking directions from the station (20 minute walk):
Head out of the main entrance towards The Foundry Pub, walk past the pub with it on your left and straight up South Street until you come to The Cross (stone monument) which indicates an intersection of four streets. Continue straight ahead up North Street. At the top of North Street is a ring road, take the pedestrian underpass to North Gate Car Park and continue through the car park to reach the Theatre on the far side.
The number 60 Stagecoach bus stops near the Theatre. Visit the Stagecoach website for more information.
The M27 and A27 run along the coast, linking Hampshire, Sussex and Kent. The M3, A3, A29, A259 and A24 connect Portsmouth, Southampton, Mid-Sussex and London. Use the map above for directions to Chichester Festival Theatre. It's also worth looking out for scheduled roadworks on the West Sussex Council website.
We'd encourage you to think green and minimise car travel where possible but recognise that driving may be your only travel option. If so, you have the option to carbon-offset your journey for £1, when booking your tickets. This £1 goes directly to Ecologi to support carbon-offsetting projects and international tree-planting programmes. Read more about this partnership here.
Northgate Car Park (PO19 6AA) is a 900-space council-run pay and display car park right on our doorstep, which charges from 8am until 8pm Monday - Saturday and 10am until 5pm on Sundays. You can pay by cash, card and contactless and the MiPermit app - chichester.gov.uk/mipermit
As we're so conveniently located, the car park can get very busy with city centre shoppers as well as our audiences. Allow plenty of time to park (especially if you're coming to a matinee!) and consider alternative car parks in Chichester. You can find all options at chichester.gov.uk/parking.
Parking for disabled patrons
If you have a Blue Badge you can park anywhere in Northgate Car Park free of charge. There are 9 non-reservable spaces close to the Theatre entrance. Visit Chichester District Council for other available car parks.
We have a 'drop off' area in front of the Theatres, which you can access from the Broyle Road entrance.
Coming with a large group? The coach drop-off point is outside the Festival Theatre with a coach park in Via Ravenna.
We're linked to the city’s cycle lane network and our bike park can hold 26 bicycles. It's right next to the Pimlott Building by the park, just off the Theatre’s access road. chichester.gov.uk/cycling
Toilets, washrooms, bathrooms or loos - whatever you call them, it's likely that you'll want to visit ours while you're here.
We have two fully accessible toilets in the Festival Theatre Foyer (one on each side) and another in the Festival Theatre (auditorium left, adjacent with row L), plus one on each level of the Minerva Theatre.
We also have two sets of ladies and gents in the Festival Theatre and another two sets in the Minerva (offering a total of 63 cubicles, four of which are ambulant, and 27 urinals), so there's no shortage of places to spend a penny.
For wheelchair users or people requiring step-free access
- There is level access across the CFT site with lifts available to other levels.
- The Café on the Park and our restaurant, The Brasserie, are fully wheelchair accessible and offer brilliant coffee and great dining experiences.
- 16 wheelchair spaces are available across two levels in the Festival Theatre and we have two spaces in the Minerva Theatre. Call or email Box Office on 01243 781312 or email@example.com to book your space (or register as an Access member to book online).
- Want to transfer from a wheelchair into a theatre seat? Let us know in advance when you book and we can help you.
- Wheelchairs are available to borrow if you need one when you get here; email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve yours in advance.
- Not in a wheelchair but have limited mobility? Walking sticks, crutches and walking aids can all be taken into the theatres and if you can't fit them safely under your seat we'll store them for you in a safe location. We'll do our best to get them back to you swiftly at the end of the performance but please allow extra time in case our Front of House team are busy elsewhere.
If you find an area of our building where access is restricted (unfortunately there are a few), our Box Office and Front of House team members have all completed accessibility training so have a chat to them. They'll happily answer questions or take on feedback to share with the rest of the organisation.
For people with visual impairments
- Audio described performances provide friendly live commentary over discreet headphones. Pick up your headset from our cloakrooms in the Festival Theatre or outside the Minerva auditorium. (And as an added bonus, we'll share a "pre-description" with you before the show just to give you a taste of what's to come.)
- Free touch tours are available 90 minutes before audio described performances so you can explore the set and costumes. Make sure you book your space in advance.
- All seat row ends and individual seats have Braille signage and we can provide a Braille or large print cast list for all Festival season productions.
- Our season brochures are available in large print or audio format (we're on Soundcloud or contact email@example.com and we'll send you a CD).
Can't make our audio described dates? Let our House Manager know (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll see if it's possible to arrange an alternative.
For those who are D/deaf or hard of hearing
- At BSL interpreted performances a British Sign Language interpreter stands on or at the side of the stage and interprets the spoken word and sound effects.
- Stagetext captioned performances provide English subtitles either on a screen above or to the side of the stage, or on a personal tablet in specific seats. Our Box Office can make sure you're booked into a seat that gives you a good view of the captioning units so contact them on 01243 781312.
- We record and caption many of our pre-show talks and make them available on YouTube.
- Both theatres are equipped with Infra-Red audio enhancement system and you can pick up a headset at our cloakrooms before the show for free.
- Hearing aid user? Switch to the 'T' position once inside the auditorium to use our induction loop system. Handy tip: this system works best if you're sat in the centre of the auditorium so chat to our Box Office (01243 781312 or email@example.com) when booking if you'd like to use this service.
- We have a chat function available on the website and can answer questions via email if helpful at firstname.lastname@example.org
We carry out regular checks on these systems but sometimes technology unfortunately fails us. If you're having any difficulties whatsoever, make sure you speak to a member of staff as soon as possible so we can try to fix the problem.
In the Festival Theatre, seats vary from 500mm wide to 560mm wide. In the Minerva Theatre they are either 515mm wide or 520mm wide. All our seats have fixed armrests. Click here to download plans for both venues showing the widths of the different seats.