News Story

Director Jonathan Kent is returning to CFT this season to direct The Promise, opening in the Minerva Theatre on Friday 19 July. We know that many of you will be just as excited as we are (very!) to welcome Jonathan back. Our Heritage and Archive Manager Helena has been delving into the archives to celebrate his previous productions at CFT. How many can you remember?

Three performers on stage. They all wear black and white and the set follows the same colour scheme, so the image almost looks black and white. A woman sits side on in the front, wearing a long-sleeved black lace dress and matching headband. She looks down at a floral bag on her lap. A man stands over her, wearing a suit, looking worried. A man can be seen through the window behind them, smiling and looking much more relaxed than the other two, holding a pile of papers.
Jem Wall, Jonathan Coy and Joanna McCallum in A Month in the Country Image: Catherine Ashmore 2010

A Month in the Country 2010

Jonathan Kent first came to CFT to direct the second production of Ivan Turgenev's play at CFT. Often considered Chekovian in style, this revival foreshadowed one of his most celebrated endeavours at Chichester five years later…

Sweeney Todd 2011

Jonathan returned the following year to direct Sweeney Todd, hailed by Stephen Sondheim himself as the finest production of the musical he’d ever seen. The cast included Michael Ball in the title role and Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Lovett. The production received glowing reviews and transferred to the West End in 2012 for a limited run, receiving six Laurence Olivier Award nominations and winning three.

Two performers on stage. The male performer has the woman in a headlock from behind and holds a knife in his fist. He looks off to the distance with a stern expression. The woman is grasping his arm, trying to free herself, with an alarmed facial expression, holding her hand up to her face.
Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball in Sweeney Todd Image: Catherine Ashmore 2011

Two performers on stage. They both lie leisurely on a curved seat. They look close and in love.
Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens in Private Lives Image: Ben Delfont 2012

Private Lives 2012

This revival in the Minerva Theatre was the season finale for CFT's 50th anniversary year and the final production before our 18-month renovation project, RENEW. The production sold out and transferred to London’s Gielgud Theatre in 2013 before being broadcast to cinemas worldwide in 2014 – we think it was the first CFT production to have been screened in this way!

A group of children and a woman on stage. They are all looking up and out into the distance, amazed and mesmerised. They wear brightly coloured clothing. The woman stands in the centre, clutching a cat to her chest.
Imelda Staunton and the young company in Gypsy Image: Johan Persson 2014

Gypsy 2014

Gypsy won the 2015 UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Production and transferred to the Savoy Theatre for a limited run in 2015. Imelda Staunton, who'd won Best Performance in a Musical, returned to play Rose and went on to win Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard and WhatsOnStage awards for her performance. The London production was nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards at the 2016 ceremony, winning four including Best Musical Revival - the most awards won by a single production in that year (and a record for CFT!). The production also won the WhatsOnStage awards for Best Musical Revival and Best Direction for Jonathan Kent; it was broadcast on BBC Four and was briefly on Netflix.

Two performers on stage. The woman on the left stands up against the man on the right. She is looking at him intently, talking, and gesturing with one hand. The man is not looking at her, instead staring off into the distance with his hands behind his back and a stern expression.
Anna Chancellor Samuel West in The Seagull Image: Johan Persson 2015

Young Chekhov: Ivanov/Platonov/The Seagull 2015

The following year, Jonathan directed a major staging of Anton Chekhov's first three full-length plays - the first ever chance to see Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull as a trilogy, in new versions by David Hare. The Young Chekhov plays could be seen individually or together. They were critically acclaimed and transferred to the National Theatre in 2016.

Sweet Bird of Youth 2017

In Daniel Evans’s first season as Artistic Director at CFT, Jonathan directed a revival of Tennessee Williams' neglected masterpiece. Celebrated Oscar and Tony Award-winning American actor Marcia Gay Harden made her UK theatre debut as Alexandra, with Brian J. Smith as Chance.

Two performers are seated on a wooden bed in the centre of the stage, with a large red and purple backdrop, like a piece of fabric floating against a black background, dominating the image. The female performer on the right wears a purple suit and looks kindly at the man next to her, who wears a red polo shirt and beige trousers and looks back at her, smiling.
Brian J. Smith and Marcia Gay Harden in Sweet Bird of Youth Image: Johan Persson 2017

A group of people stand and sit together in a studio. They are all smiling and laughing, having a great time.
The company in rehearsals for The Promise

The Promise 2024

Fast forward to Justin Audibert's first Festival season, we look forward to welcoming Jonathan back to Chichester to direct Paul Unwin’s new drama about the politicians who fought to found the NHS.