Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne have today announced that Chichester Festival Theatre will reopen its doors with its summer musical: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, running from 5 July – 4 September.
CFT is also planning a weekend of open air concerts and family events in Oaklands Park in early June (further details will be confirmed in the coming weeks).
Kathy Bourne and Daniel Evans say: ‘Seldom can a summer have been as eagerly anticipated as this one. We are so proud and thankful to be able to say: we are re-opening, we will be producing work on our stages and digitally, and we will continue to serve our community of audiences and theatre-makers.
‘We know that Chichester’s summer musical is a highlight of the year for people locally, regionally and nationally. South Pacific should have been the centrepiece of Festival 2020; we couldn’t be more thrilled that it will finally open this July, with a superb cast and creative team who’ve waited a year to bring it to fruition.
‘We’re also delighted to offer a specially made film of our Autumn highlight, Sarah Kane’s Crave – giving audiences around the globe a second chance to see Tinuke Craig’s revelatory production.
‘While South Pacific will initially be booking with a reduced capacity auditorium and a dedicated socially distanced performance every week, our hope is that, later in 2021, we will see the return of non-socially distanced audiences with a renewed confidence and appetite for live performance. We’ll announce further productions for Festival 2021 later this spring.’
Currently, Step 4 of the government’s roadmap anticipates the removal of all legal limits on social contact and the reopening of full theatre auditoriums from 21 June, subject to successful pilot test events taking place in April and May. Accordingly, South Pacific will go on sale with a reduced capacity auditorium (approximately 900, as opposed to 1300) in order to ease congestion in the foyers and public spaces, with a view to moving to full capacity as soon as government guidelines permit. Enhanced cleaning, hand sanitising and the wearing of face coverings at all times in the Theatre will be in place.
In addition, there will be one specially designated socially distanced performance every week – complete with the Covid-safety measures introduced last autumn, including timed arrivals and temperature checks – for those audience members who would prefer to remain socially distanced for the foreseeable future. The production will also be streamed (dates TBA); and there will be a Dementia-Friendly performance on 1 September.
Priority online booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens on Thursday 1 April from 12 noon
General online booking opens on Tuesday 6 April from 10.00am