Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne announce today that Chichester Festival Theatre will reopen its doors with its summer musical: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s SOUTH PACIFIC, running from 5 July – 4 September.
Before then, a film of Sarah Kane’s CRAVE, created from Tinuke Craig’s acclaimed production, will be available to watch on demand in May.
CFT is also planning a weekend of open air concerts and family events in Oaklands Park in early June.
Kathy Bourne and Daniel Evans said:
‘Seldom can a summer have been as eagerly anticipated as this one. We are so proud and thankful to be able to say: we are re-opening, we will be producing work on our stages and digitally, and we will continue to serve our community of audiences and theatre-makers.
‘We know that Chichester’s summer musical is a highlight of the year for people locally, regionally and nationally. South Pacific should have been the centrepiece of Festival 2020; we couldn’t be more thrilled that it will finally open this July, with a superb cast and creative team who’ve waited a year to bring it to fruition.
‘We’re also delighted to offer a specially made film of our Autumn highlight, Sarah Kane’s Crave – giving audiences around the globe a second chance to see Tinuke Craig’s revelatory production.
‘While South Pacific will initially be booking with a reduced capacity auditorium and a dedicated socially distanced performance every week, our hope is that, later in 2021, we will see the return of non-socially distanced audiences with a renewed confidence and appetite for live performance. We’ll announce further productions for Festival 2021 later this spring.’
Currently, Step 4 of the government’s roadmap anticipates the removal of all legal limits on social contact and the reopening of full theatre auditoriums from 21 June, subject to successful pilot test events taking place in April and May. Accordingly, South Pacific will go on sale with a reduced capacity auditorium (approximately 900, as opposed to 1300) in order to ease congestion in the foyers and public spaces, with a view to moving to full capacity as soon as government guidelines permit. Enhanced cleaning, hand sanitising and the wearing of face coverings at all times in the Theatre will be in place.
In addition, there will be one specially designated socially distanced performance every week – complete with the Covid-safety measures introduced last autumn, including timed arrivals and temperature checks – for those audience members who would prefer to remain socially distanced for the foreseeable future.
By Sarah Kane
Streaming worldwide: opening night 18 May at 7.30pm BST, on demand from 19 – 29 May
A chance for audiences at home to experience a specially made film of the production that defied lockdown. Sarah Kane’s Crave was live streamed to thousands in 50 countries around the globe as the cast of four performed in an empty auditorium. This film is a new edit of the live stream, with remastered sound and incorporating new footage from filmmaker Ravi Deepres.
In a damaged world, four characters search for the light. This heart-rending, funny, kind and cruel meditation on the meaning of love resonated with audiences looking to reconnect after the loneliness and seclusion inflicted by a global pandemic.
The opening night performance will be followed by a live post-show talk with members of the company.
Erin Doherty, Alfred Enoch, Wendy Kweh and Jonathan Slinger are the cast in Tinuke Craig’s production, which is designed by Alex Lowde, with lighting by Joshua Pharo, composition and sound by Anna Clock, film by Ravi Deepres, movement by Jenny Ogilvie and casting by Charlotte Sutton. Filmed by The Umbrella Rooms.
Contains strong language; suitable for ages 16+.
Crave is sponsored by Genesis.
Gina Beck, Julian Ovenden,
Joanna Ampil, Keir Charles and Rob Houchen in
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan
Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
Directed by Daniel Evans
5 July – 4 September 2021, live in the Festival Theatre
Press performance: Tuesday 13 July at 7.00pm
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific will be Chichester Festival Theatre’s summer musical for 2021, running from 5 July – 4 September, with a press night on Tuesday 13 July. The production will also be streamed online, dates to be announced.
Daniel Evans directs an outstanding cast led by Gina Beck (Nellie Forbush), Julian Ovenden (Emile de Becque) Joanna Ampil (Bloody Mary), Keir Charles (Luther Billis) and Rob Houchen (Joe Cable), which also includes Iroy Abesamis, Carl Au, Rosanna Bates, David Birrell, Taylor Bradshaw, Bobbie Chambers, Danny Collins, Shailan Gohil, Adrian Grove, Zack Guest, Matthew Maddison, Sera Maehara (as Liat), Melissa Nettleford, Kate Playdon, Pierce Rogan and Clancy Ryan.
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.
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 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 new production of South Pacific is directed by CFT’s 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 (Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel, BBC Proms, Downton Abbey) as Emile, Joanna Ampil (Avenue Q, 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.
The set and costume designer is Peter McKintosh, and the choreographer and movement director, Ann Yee. Musical direction is by Cat Beveridge, with musical supervision by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Paul Groothuis, additional arrangements by Theo Jamieson, and casting by Charlotte Sutton.
One performance of South Pacific each week will be socially distanced.
There will be a Dementia Friendly performance on 1 September at 2.30pm, welcoming individuals living with dementia, as well as their friends, families and carers.
South Pacific is sponsored by R.L. Austen.
Priority online booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens:
Thursday 1 April from 12 noon
General online booking opens:
Tuesday 6 April from 10.00am
cft.org.uk 01243 781312
Tickets from £10
Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 30s
£5 tickets are available for 16 to 30 year-olds for; sign up for free at cft.org.uk/prologue.
Twitter @ChichesterFT Facebook ChichesterFestivalTheatre
Instagram ChichesterFT YouTube ChichesterTheatre