2022 marks a very special year for Chichester Festival Theatre: its diamond anniversary.
Situated in a cathedral city in West Sussex between the South Downs and the sea, and renowned for its outstanding productions, Chichester Festival Theatre’s sparkling Festival 2022 season offers six world premiere productions, three musicals and a host of dramas
Back in 1961, an advertisement proclaimed: ‘When the Theatre is completed (early in 1962) you will see a building of great charm and originality, perfectly related to its parkland setting. But it will also be a building of great importance in the world of drama today.’
That early confidence was justified. Over the past six decades, a myriad of productions from Chichester – whether in the 1300-seat Festival Theatre or the 300-seat Minerva Theatre – have transferred to the West End, or toured internationally. Among them, in recent years, have been Singin’ in the Rain, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Half A Sixpence and Caroline, Or Change. In 2022, Chichester Festival Theatre’s acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific will have a London run at Sadler’s Wells and tour the UK and Ireland.
Feel-good nights out and compelling storytelling are top of the agenda for 2022. Chichester’s summer show is an annual highlight for many visitors, and this year the Tony and Olivier Award-winning Gershwin musical Crazy for You is certain to get toes tapping! Charlie Stemp (who sprang to fame in Half A Sixpence and has since starred in New York and the West End) returns to lead the cast, with direction and choreography by Broadway royalty Susan Stroman.
Raising the curtain on Festival 2022 is The Taxidermist’s Daughter, a thrilling Gothic mystery by Chichester’s internationally successful writer Kate Mosse, adapted from her best-selling novel. Double Olivier Award-winner Henry Goodman dons Poirot’s legendary moustache in a spectacular new staging of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express; Alex Jennings leads the cast of Stephen Beresford’s new play The Southbury Child, directed by former National Theatre supremo Nicholas Hytner; and Amanda Abbington, Reece Shearsmith and Frances Barber star in The Unfriend, a new play from Steven Moffat whose hit TV series include Sherlock and Dracula.
In the autumn, Local Hero is inspired by the hit Bill Forsyth film and features songs by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame; while the whole family can enjoy an adventure with The Famous Five, a new musical based on the Enid Blyton books.
Running alongside is an exciting programme of events, including free pre and post-show talks; or you can take a fascinating backstage tour to discover what goes on behind the scenes. There’s a range of excellent dining options, including the elegant brasserie restaurant and relaxed Café on the Park, not to mention several bars, an extensive gin menu and English sparkling wines.
2022 also sees significant anniversaries for the city’s famous Pallant House Gallery and international film festival.
With stunning beaches and countryside on its doorstep, there’s no better time to enjoy a trip to Chichester. Visit www.cft.org.uk to discover more.