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The Southbury Child

Festival 2022


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A new play by Stephen Beresford

13 - 25 June 2022

Festival Theatre

Stephen Beresford's new play The Southbury Child, directed by Nicholas Hytner with a cast led by Alex Jennings, a co-production with The Bridge Theatre, will open at Chichester in June before its London run.

Raffish, urbane and frequently drunk, David Highland has kept a grip on his remote coastal parish through a combination of disordered charm and high-handed determination.

But when his faith impels him to take a hard line with a bereaved parishioner, he finds himself dangerously isolated from public opinion. As his own family begins to fracture and his marriage falls apart, David must face a future that threatens to extinguish not only his position in the town, but everything he stands for.

Stephen Beresford’s darkly comic new play is an exploration of family and community, the savage divisions of contemporary society and the rituals that punctuate our lives. His work includes The Last of the Haussmans at the National Theatre, an adaptation of Bergman's Fanny & Alexander for The Old Vic and the BAFTA-winning film Pride.

Triple Olivier Award-winner Alex Jennings returns to Chichester to lead the cast. The Southbury Child reunites him with Nicholas Hytner who has previously directed him in Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, Collaborators, The Habit of Art, The Alchemist and The Winter’s Tale (all at the National Theatre) amongst others. His many other credits range from My Fair Lady to Stuff Happens and Hansard at the NT, as well as Hamlet for the RSC. His screen work includes The Crown, The Lady in the Van, The Queen, Victoria, A Very English Scandal and Small Axe: Mangrove.

Nicholas Hytner also makes a welcome return to Chichester, where he previously directed The Scarlet Pimpernel (with a cast including Alex Jennings) in 1985. Director of the National Theatre from 2003-2015, he is Co-Founder of The Bridge Theatre where his recent work includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beat The Devil, Bach & Sons and the forthcoming The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage and Straight Line Crazy.

The production will be designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting by Max Narula, sound by George Dennis and casting by Robert Sterne.

Tickets for The Southbury Child at Chichester will go on sale with the full Festival 2022 season in early spring. The production will run at The Bridge from 1 July - 27 August.