GUYS AND DOLLS Added To Chichester's 2014 Season!
Festival 2014 is a landmark season for Chichester. It heralds the transformation of the newly refurbished Festival Theatre, which reopens this summer following a £22 million redevelopment.
The major improvements to the Grade II* listed building will greatly enhance the experience of audiences, actors and creative teams visiting the Festival Theatre. With a transformed auditorium, increased seating capacity of 1,300, more spacious foyer areas with new cafés, bars and outdoor terraces, as well as improved and expanded artist facilities, Chichester Festival Theatre's high artistic reputation will now be matched by world-class spaces.
The Festival Theatre opens in July with a major new production of Amadeus by acclaimed playwright Peter Shaffer, featuring Rupert Everett as embittered court composer Salieri, and directed by Jonathan Church, Chichester Festival Theatre's Artistic Director.
A celebration of Peter Shaffer's work is a major thread running through the season. His association with Chichester dates back to 1964 when The Royal Hunt of the Sun was commissioned by Laurence Olivier, the Theatre's first Artistic Director. This was followed by Black Comedy in 1965, and this glorious farce will also feature in Festival 2014. In addition to productions of Amadeus and Black Comedy, there will also be rehearsed readings of Shaffer plays, while actors, directors and speakers from the arts will share their experiences of working alongside one of Britain's greatest and most innovative living writers.
Chichester's commitment to championing new writing is demonstrated by three world premieres. Richard Bean, writer of the award-winning, globally acclaimed One Man, Two Guv'nors makes his Chichester debut with Pitcairn. This drama explores the fallout from the mutiny on the Bounty with salty humour and growing horror. It will be directed by Max Stafford-Clark, with whom Bean collaborated on The Big Fellah, and is a co-production with Out of Joint and Shakespeare's Globe.
Pressure by David Haig - who also features in the cast, alongside Malcolm Sinclair - tells the little known true story of a Scottish meteorologist's crucial role in determining the outcome of the 1944 June D-Day landings. The 70th anniversary of this key event will be marked this year. This is a co-production with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.
Taken At Midnight by Mark Hayhurst uncovers the harrowing true story of Hans Litten, a celebrated lawyer in 1930s Germany, who famously put Hitler on the witness stand, with devastating consequences. The cast features Penelope Wilton as Litten's mother in the second Festival 2014 production to be directed by Jonathan Church.
Rebecca Lenkiewicz has written a new version of Miss Julie - the powerful exploration of sex, class and power by August Strindberg - in which the title role will be played by Rosalie Craig making her Chichester debut following her award-winning performance in The Light Princess at the National Theatre. Miss Julie will be paired with Black Comedy; this double bill originally premiered at Chichester starring Maggie Smith and Albert Finney.
The final premiere of the season will be Bryony Lavery's new adaptation of The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Chichester Festival Youth Theatre will stage this much-loved classic, directed by Dale Rooks.
Two major Broadway musicals will also be at the heart of Festival 2014. The multi award-winning Guys and Dolls will be the first musical staged in the Festival Theatre following its reopening. Based on colourful stories about New York gamblers by Damon Runyon, the production will be directed by Gordon Greenberg, with choreography by Carlos Acosta, one of the leading dancers of his generation. The cast features Clare Foster as Sarah Brown, Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson, Peter Polycarpou as Nathan Detroit and Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide.
The hugely anticipated Gypsy will open in the autumn. Imelda Staunton leads the cast as the indomitable Mama Rose, widely acknowledged to be one of the supreme female musical roles. She is joined by Lara Pulver and Kevin Whately, who makes his Chichester debut as Herbie. The production reunites Staunton and director Jonathan Kent in a musical at Chichester, following their award-winning collaboration on Sweeney Todd. Choreography is by Stephen Mear whose Chichester credits include Kiss Me, Kate and The Pajama Game, both of which transferred to the West End.
Other leading actors who will appear during Festival 2014 include Zoë Wanamaker playing the title role in Stevie, Hugh Whitemore's play about poet Stevie Smith, alongside Lynda Baron and Chris Larkin. Dervla Kirwan features in the bittersweet romance Frankie & Johnny In The Clair De Lune by Terrence McNally, and Chichester favourite Patricia Routledge returns in Oscar Wilde's classic drama, An Ideal Husband, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.
Artistic Director Jonathan Church said: "We're immensely proud of our new theatre and of the season that celebrates our year of transformation. As great writers, great directors and great performers are at the heart of what we do, I'm thrilled to present a programme distinguished by the finest dramatic writing, with new plays standing front and centre of our season. Of course, both our audiences and the artists that work at Chichester are integral to our success and I look forward to renewing and strengthening our relationships with them during the important year ahead."
Executive Director Alan Finch said: "We're now just a few months away from reopening our completely refurbished Festival Theatre and excitement is growing. We are in the closing stages of raising £22 million for the RENEW project as we complete the restoration and upgrading of our much-loved theatre. This achievement has only been made possible because of the commitment and support of our audiences, individual donors, stakeholders and businesses, as well as Arts Council England, West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council. We'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone as we look forward to welcoming our audiences back to the Festival Theatre."