News Story

Have you heard the big news? We’re delighted to announce that Justin Audibert’s going to be joining us as Artistic Director in July this year, working alongside our Executive Director Kathy Bourne, after we bid a fond farewell to our current AD, Daniel Evans.

A freelance writer as well as a theatre director (with directing credits including work for the RSC and the National), Justin comes to us from London’s Unicorn Theatre, where he’s been Artistic Director since 2018, delivering bold, exciting and inspiring work.

A man in a dark sweatshirt smiling in front of a yellow background

Mark Foster, Chair of our Board, said: ‘I am delighted to confirm Justin Audibert as our next Artistic Director. After meeting a very impressive longlist and shortlist of candidates, we were in no doubt that Justin’s experience in making theatre for audiences of all ages in venues large and small, together with his creativity, energy and enthusiasm, make him an outstanding choice to take Chichester Festival Theatre into its seventh decade. As well as being one of the UK’s most admired directors, he shares our values and our commitment to the vital importance of community, diversity and inclusion. We warmly welcome him to the CFT family and look forward with great anticipation to the vision and leadership he will bring to Chichester.’

From Justin himself: ‘I am so excited to be joining Kathy Bourne and the wonderful team at Chichester Festival Theatre. It is an organisation that creates brilliant, innovative productions with inspirational artists that delight audiences in Chichester, across the UK and around the world. In addition to the magic that is created on its stages is the ground-breaking work CFT does in communities through their Learning, Education and Participation department. Being able to combine those two huge passions of mine and lead such a dynamic team makes this my dream job, and I am honoured to have been appointed the new Artistic Director by Mark and the Trustees.

‘Whilst this is a wonderful opportunity for me it is, of course, tinged with the sadness of leaving the Unicorn Theatre. I want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to the entire team at the Unicorn who have given and taught me so much. It is a unique and joyful organisation and I look forward to cheering it on and watching it grow and thrive under my successor.

‘Lastly, on a personal note, Chichester holds a very special place in my heart. As a child we used to holiday in this beautiful area and I have a deep abiding affection for the stunning countryside and friendly people of West Sussex. I cannot wait to get to know them better as we create the next chapter in Chichester Festival Theatre’s illustrious history.’

Kathy Bourne, Executive Director, commented: ‘Justin’s shared understanding that our work off stage for all members of our community and young people stands equal with our outstanding work on stage, aligns perfectly with CFT’s vision and values. His verve and dynamism are a great fit for CFT and will ensure that we continue to deliver ambitious, exciting work of the highest quality. I’m so looking forward to welcoming him to the team at Chichester.

Daniel Evans, who leaves us at the end of April, added: ‘I am beyond thrilled by Justin’s appointment. Not only has he run the Unicorn Theatre with innovation and ingenuity, but he has also in recent years directed acclaimed productions on our national stages in London and Stratford. He is a thoughtful, dynamic and compassionate leader.

‘I will continue to oversee the Festival 2023 season while beginning my new role at the RSC and handing over to Justin, and I know he will enjoy the same warmth and support from our audiences, artists, staff, supporters and communities as I received when I arrived. More than anything, I wish him the very best and I’m excited to see how he advances the journey of the brilliant CFT.’

We’re really thrilled to welcome Justin to CFT.

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