Simon Callow, Albert Finney and Patrick Stewart Join Chichester's 2014 Celebration of Peter Shaffer

Simon Callow, Albert Finney and Patrick Stewart Join Chichester's 2014 Celebration of Peter Shaffer

Distinguished actors Simon Callow, Albert Finney and Patrick Stewart will be among those taking part in Chichester Festival Theatre's celebrations to mark its long association with playwright Peter Shaffer.

Shaffer's work is a thread running through Chichester's Festival 2014. In addition to productions of Black Comedy and Amadeus, there will be three weekends of rehearsed readings, discussions and talks marking the major contribution of one of this country's greatest and most important living playwrights.

Highlights will include Question Time, a discussion led by Simon Callow with contributions from Albert Finney, theatre critic Michael Billington and Black Comedy director Jamie Glover; the rehearsed reading of Yonadab featuring Patrick Stewart, directed by Chichester Associate Angus Jackson (reuniting actor and director following Festival 2010's production, Bingo); Singular Shaffer, a talk by author Daniel Rosenthal tracing the journey made by Shaffer's plays from Chichester to the National Theatre and beyond; and extracts from Lettice and Lovage, directed by Lotte Wakeham, whose credits include the RSC's Matilda The Musical as Associate Director.

Shaffer's close involvement 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 which was commissioned by legendary dramaturg Kenneth Tynan. Miss Julie and Black Comedy first premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre in 1965 starring Maggie Smith and Albert Finney.

WEEKEND ONE

Young Characters in Shaffer's plays

Saturday 19 July, 11am

Join Chichester Festival Youth Theatre for rehearsed extracts from The Private Ear, White Liars, Five Finger Exercise and Equus.

The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Sunday 20 July, 11.30am

A rehearsed reading of this epic story of the conquest of Peru and the defeat of an empire.

WEEKEND TWO

Singular Shaffer

Saturday 26 July, 10.30am

Part 1: From Chichester to the National Theatre

Author Daniel Rosenthal traces the journey of Shaffer's plays from Chichester.

Part 2: Lettice and Lovage, Director Lotte Wakeham

Extracts from a play which explores the relationship between a flamboyant tour guide and a fact-conscious official.

Question Time

Saturday 26 July, 5.45pm

Actor Albert Finney, theatre critic Michael Billington and Black Comedy director Jamie Glover, led by actor Simon Callow, discuss key issues in Shaffer's work.

Yonadab

Sunday 27 July, 11am

Actor Patrick Stewart features in the rehearsed reading of this rarely performed tragedy set in the court of King David, directed by Angus Jackson.

WEEKEND THREE

Five Finger Exercise

Saturday 2 August, 10.30am

The domestic tensions and secret emotions of a family at war are revealed in this rehearsed reading.

All tickets £9, and all events are held in the Minerva Theatre. To book, visit cft.org.uk/shaffer or call 01243 781312. For more information, visit cft.org.uk, or follow on Twitter: twitter.com/ChichesterFT @ChichesterFT and Facebook: facebook.com/chichesterfestivaltheatre.

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