News Story

Our Artistic Director Daniel Evans announced today that he’s stepping down from his role at Chichester Festival Theatre at the end of April 2023, to start a new role as Co-Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside Tamara Harvey.

Daniel joined us as Artistic Director in 2016, and his inspiring and bold leadership has resulted in a broad and diverse range of work, including 17 world premieres. There are too many highlights to mention, but a few stand-out shows include the award-winning Caroline, Or Change, Roy Williams’s Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, a digital-live hybrid production of Sarah Kane’s Crave and Ian McKellen’s King Lear; while exhilarating musicals include his own productions of the box office record-breaking Fiddler on the Roof with Omid Djalili, and South Pacific; and Susan Stroman’s production of Crazy for You. There has been a significant increase in female playwrights, and the diversity of actors on our stages has trebled in just five years.

Alongside Executive Director Kathy Bourne, Daniel Evans navigated the stormy waters of the pandemic, and made sure we as an organisation stayed connected to our audiences and engaged even more with our community during that difficult time. Sarah Kane’s Crave broke new ground, being staged to live audiences and simultaneously live-streamed to households in 50 countries around the world.

During Daniel’s leadership we’ve also enjoyed success beyond Chichester, with five productions transferring to the West End or securing international and UK tours: Caroline, Or Change, with Sharon D. Clarke recreating her Olivier Award-winning performance in London and on Broadway (where she was nominated for a Tony); King Lear with Ian McKellen, also broadcast to cinemas internationally with NT Live and now on NT At Home; James Graham’s Quiz; Laura Wade’s The Watsons; and South Pacific with Julian Ovenden and Gina Beck.

Daniel Evans said: ‘I will leave CFT with immense gratitude and sadness. I have loved my time with the organisation – and owe a huge debt to the staff, artists and audiences who have come together over the years to create inspirational theatre experiences for our communities. I want to pay a particular tribute to Kathy Bourne, who has been the best partner any artistic director could ask for. She is kind, tenacious, funny and forward-thinking – and, together with the leadership team, led the company through the challenges of Covid-19 with grace and humour. I will miss her and the entire team enormously, and feel proud of all the work we’ve achieved together to continue the extraordinary legacy of CFT.’

Mark Foster, Chairman of Chichester Festival Theatre, said: ‘Daniel has been an inspiring, creative and charismatic Artistic Director. The remarkable range of superb productions under his tenure has brought joy and stimulation to huge numbers of people – not only in person, but to many more who have discovered Chichester’s work digitally or in the community. He leaves behind a thriving institution producing the highest quality work and everyone at CFT will miss him, professionally and personally; his new role at the RSC is ample testament to his talent and ability. The Board will shortly begin the process of recruiting his successor, and the Theatre is in the very good hands of our Executive Director Kathy Bourne. She joins me and the Board in offering Daniel our thanks for his work at Chichester, and our warmest congratulations and good wishes for his new role.’

PS. Want the official press release? Take a look here.

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