A visual treat that will be perfect for anyone deprived of a theatre feast
This is CFT at its best - powerfully, poignantly and brilliantly back
This is a chance for audiences who would prefer to watch our work from home or simply aren't able to travel to Chichester this year to watch a stream of our production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific.
1943. On an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, US troops are kicking their heels amid the cacao groves while restlessly waiting for the war to reach them.
Nellie Forbush, a navy nurse from Arkansas, finds herself falling for the French plantation owner, Emile de Becque – a man with a mysterious past. The scheming sailor Luther Billis runs a makeshift laundry to earn a quick buck, but he’s no match for the quick-witted Polynesian Bloody Mary who’s intent on exploiting these foreigners.
When young Princeton graduate Lieutenant Joe Cable is flown in on a dangerous reconnaissance mission, love and fear become entwined as the island’s battle for hearts and minds begins.
This much-loved, Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical opened in 1949 to huge success, becoming one of Broadway’s longest running hit shows. It boasts one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most memorable scores, featuring songs such as Some Enchanted Evening, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Bali Ha’i.
This new production is directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous Chichester productions include This Is My Family, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof.
Making their Chichester debuts are Gina Beck (Matilda, Show Boat, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera) as Nellie, Julian Ovenden (Bridgerton, Downton Abbey, Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel, BBC Proms) as Emile, Joanna Ampil (Cats, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon) as Bloody Mary, and Rob Houchen (Les Misérables, The Light in the Piazza) as Cable. Keir Charles, who played Chris Tarrant in Quiz, returns as Luther Billis.
Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd on behalf of R&H Theatricals
The performance of South Pacific being streamed will be recorded live in front of an audience at CFT in July. The same performance will be broadcast on each of the stream dates. The cast appearing in the recording is as detailed on the cast and creatives tab.
Your ticket is valid for 24 hours from the point you start to watch, but please ensure that you start to watch within 24 hours of the start time on your ticket as after this point your reference code will expire.
This event can be viewed in a web browser on your computer, tablet or mobile phone, via Google Chromecast, on Apple or Android TVs and on Amazon Fire TV. Find out how to connect here.
All performances will have the option for closed captions in English.
Performances on 21, 26, 31 August and 3 September are available with audio description.
Performances on 21, 26, 31 August and 3 September are available interpreted into BSL by Sarah Granger.
Our programmes are designed to be the perfect insightful companion to the production. The South Pacific programme includes rehearsal photography, an interview with members of the cast and creative team, an article on Rodgers & Hammerstein's political involvement, extracts from James Michener's original novel, biographies and news from the Theatre.
By clicking on BUY you will be re-directed to Issuu's website. The purchased programme will be available to read on their website and app.
Purchasing a digital programme does not include the purchase of a printed programme.
Everyone will get the same experience regardless of which ticket they buy, however we're asking you to consider paying what you normally would for a night at the Theatre. If there will be more than one person watching on the same device, please consider purchasing the Household ticket. This will help support CFT, as we continue to produce creatively ambitious, world-class theatre and connect with our communities.
£10 Early Bird ticket (limited number available)
£20 Single ticket
£30 Single ticket, for those that would like to give a little extra support to CFT
£40 Household ticket
Captions All streamed performances of South Pacific have the option of English closed captions. You do not need to purchase a specific ticket, just click the CC icon on the player once you have pressed play to turn the captions on/off. Please note any pre-show trailers have open captions by default which cannot be switched off.
BSL Interpreted Performances on 21, 26, 31 August and 3 September will have a BSL Interpreted option. Please select the BSL Interpreted ticket option when purchasing to ensure you receive a link to the performance with an interpreter (Sarah Granger) at the side of the screen.
Audio Description Performances on 21, 26, 31 August and 3 September will have an Audio Description option. Please select the Audio Described ticket option when purchasing to ensure you receive a link to the performance with an embedded audio description track.
Content and Themes
At CFT, we want everyone to feel truly welcome and comfortable. While we try not to spoil anyone’s enjoyment by giving away ‘spoilers’ such as plot twists and narrative surprises, we also recognise that some people may find certain themes distressing. You’ll find guidance on such content below; please be aware that by reading this, some elements of the plot may be revealed. Please note that this may be updated nearer the time of the production as staging details are confirmed.
Nudity: None anticipated
Violence: None anticipated
Themes: Love, war, racial prejudice
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Watch on your computer, tablet or phone using your web browser. Please make sure it is up to date. We recommend using Google Chrome, Safari, Edge or Firefox. Please do not use Internet Explorer or the Samsung native browser at this time.
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You can also watch on Apple, Android or Fire TV. You will need to download the TicketCo TV app from the relevant App Store. Please note you need TVos 13+ on Apple TV, or Android TV version 7.0+ to use the app.
The email should have arrived within a few minutes of you confirming your booking. It would be from TicketCo AS, not CFT. Check your junk folder and if you still can't find it, don't worry, you can easily retrieve your booking. Go to the CFT page on the TicketCo website and click on the red button that says Find your purchased tickets. Enter your email address and a link will be sent that will allow you to download a PDF file with your reference code. Go to ticketco.tv and enter your 5 digit code to watch.
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Can I watch this event again?
On-demand events are available for a limited time once you start viewing, and this will be detailed in your confirmation email and on the event page. Your reference code will expire at the time and date stipulated in your confirmation email, so please ensure you have redeemed it before this time. You can re-watch the event as many times as you wish after this point within the timeframe it is available.
Join Kate Mosse as she sits down to talk with director Daniel Evans about his production of South Pacific. Daniel Evans is Artistic Director of CFT and his recent productions include This Is My Family, Quiz and Fiddler on the Roof. Recorded on 12 July.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific in rehearsals
Many of the challenges and themes of South Pacific have been brought into greater focus over the past 16 months, including the significant rise in anti-Asian hate crimes against people of Chinese origin. Here, writer and journalist Zing Tsjeng asks:
What mask will they wear?
When US President Joe Biden signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act in May 2021, he was in full grandstanding rhetoric. ‘For centuries’, he said in his speech at the White House, ‘Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders – diverse and vibrant communities – have helped build this nation only to be often stepped over, forgotten or ignored. You know, lived here for generations, but still considered by some, the “other”. It’s wrong. It’s simply – to use the phrase – un-American.’
The Hate Crimes Act was passed in the Senate a month earlier, with nearly unanimous support. Conceived as a response to the recent spike in anti-Asian attacks, it was hailed as a landmark step in addressing racial violence towards communities of colour, enabling improved data collection of hate crimes and empowering law enforcement to identify and investigate offences. ‘Silence is complicity and we cannot be complicit’, Biden said. ‘We have to speak out.’
The legislation was the acknowledgement of a bitter and protracted wave of violence that saw Asian Americans – many of them elderly and female – assaulted in public. When the New York Times began mapping these attacks in March 2020, it recorded cases that stretched coast to coast, from Carmel County, California to St Petersburg, Florida. From sea to shining sea, Asian Americans have been beaten, spat upon, punched and pepper sprayed. They have had drinks poured on them and hit on the head with bricks and metal pipes. In the worst cases, they have died – like the six women who were killed at the Atlanta spa shooting or the 84-year-old man who suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage after being pushed to the ground.
Advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate recorded more than 6,600 hate crimes between March 2020 and March 2021 alone. People of Chinese heritage made up almost 44% of the attacks. But these incidents of violence were also, to a degree, indiscriminate – the Times reports several instances in which Asian Americans of Korean, Filipino, Japanese or Thai descent were targeted as Chinese, and insulted accordingly.
A Florida sports reporter, Josh Tolentino, was called ‘kung flu’ by a white couple and told to go back to China. Tolentino, who is second-generation Filipino American, said, ‘I am not Covid-19. I am not the Chinese virus… I am not responsible for the virus and neither are the Asians being attacked across the US.’
Racism doesn’t pause to check your ancestry.com DNA test. In the case of Tolentino and countless others, simply looking Asian – specifically Chinese – was enough to make them a target. Ever since former US President Trump stoked the flames of xenophobia by nicknaming coronavirus ‘kung flu’ and ‘China virus’, Asians all over the world have been walking with a target painted on their backs.
In Australia, four local councillors received poison pen letters, including one that promised ‘death to all Chinese people’. According to the Lowy Institute, Australia's leading think tank, nearly one in five Chinese Australians have been physically attacked during the pandemic. In the UK, Metropolitan Police stats show that hate crimes against those of Asian appearance have almost tripled since the start of the pandemic. In London, I spoke to one young woman who said that she was so afraid of being attacked that she was beginning a Krav Maga self-defence course.
It’s tempting to dismiss this as a purely coronavirus-related spike in aggression. In fact, I’ve tried to rationalise this to myself in much the same way, if only for my sanity. In one particularly terse conversation with my mother in the days after the Sarah Everard killing and the Atlanta shooting, she asked if I felt safe. I wanted to tell her that of course I was safe. I was living in London, the most multicultural city in Europe, and the pandemic would blow over soon enough. Why wouldn’t I feel safe?
But the truth is, I didn’t feel safe. On the surface, I could walk the streets relatively freely. They were bright and well-lit. On every corner there was the glowing edifice of a corner shop – a place of safety to duck into if necessary. I could call a friend instantly with a touch of my smartphone. But psychologically, I didn’t feel safe. My head was a raging, spinning machine of doom.
My mind was making a thousand calculations at once, drawing the links between these attacks and my experience of being Asian in the west – the funny looks, the racist harassment, the misogynist comments, the ‘where are you froms’ and the ‘you speak such good Englishes’ – before coming to the conclusion that no, this wasn’t just a Covid issue. Coronavirus had simply been the container ship for all of society’s misjudged stereotypes, cultural assumptions, and racist hate and fear. It had dredged it all up from the sea floor to the surface, given it a spear and called it ‘kung-flu’.
And what made it worse was the silence from those on the outside. As Vanity Fair writer RO Kwon writes, ‘Here is how the silence around anti-Asian racism has felt for the past months, year and, at times, throughout my life; like I am mired up to my waist in a terrible, sucking sludge of anxiety and pain… while white people who say they love us, who believe they’re allies – not all white people, but many – float past on rafts, in garden clothes, chatting about their day.’ Kwon’s friends said that they simply didn’t know what to say or were frightened of making it worse. To which I say, ‘Your worst is better than nothing.’
There is an ancient Chinese theatrical art known as bian lian, or face-changing, which reminds me of this strange moment in time. On stage, performers dressed in lavish masks and costumes will turn and twist around, somehow magically transforming their faces with every drum flourish and whirl. With a flick of their fans or cloaks, they swap between expressions of fear, surprise, anger and love.
The effect is disconcertingly magical and somehow uncanny – you never know quite which mask might appear next, and your body tenses in anticipation of the change, your mind working double time to figure out what might come in the seconds or minutes ahead.
Right now, I and many other Asian people never know which mask we’ll be received with when we leave home. As lockdown eases, will others look at me and perceive on my face the mask of sickness, of ill-health, of contagion? Will they take up arms – a brick, a metal pipe, a gun – against me?
And when I look at them, what mask will they wear?
Zing Tsjeng is a Singapore-born, London-based writer and Executive Editor of VICE UK.
Image credits: Stop Anti-Asian racism & China-bashing rally, Washington DC, 27 March 2021 / Elvert Barnes Photography Solidarity Against Hate Crimes demonstration, USA, March 2021 / Becker1999
This Is How It Feels
Sung by Gina Beck and Julian Ovenden from their homes to mark what would have been the opening night of South Pacific in July 2020.