SIR Ian McKellen, Omid Djalili, One Foot in the Grave star Richard Wilson and Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden are the big names in the Chichester Festival Theatre 2017 summer season announced today.
Unveiling their first season in charge, new CFT bosses – executive director Rachel Tackley and artistic director Daniel Evans – are promising ‘great plays with great actors.’
Sir Ian will star as King Lear in a Minerva production which may well be relayed to a big screen outside to accommodate anticipated demand; British stand-up comedian and actor Omid Djalili will take the lead in the classic musical The Fiddler on the Roof; and Richard Wilson will open the summer season as the Headmaster in Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On.
The season will also see a major Tennessee Williams revival, with Marcia Gay Harden starring in Sweet Bird of Youth.
Rachel and Daniel said they were delighted with the season which has come together: ‘I love the broad range of it,’ said Rachel.
‘Announcing a season is a bit like inviting someone into your house.
‘You want them to love all the individual rooms, but you want them to love the overall effect, and I think what we are offering is thrilling.
‘It has taken a long time to put the season together. We can’t wait for people to see it.’
The season also offers a brand-new play about Charles Ingram, the infamous ‘coughing Major’ in the Who Wants to be A Millionaire? scandal – one of three new plays in the programme.
The season will also include The Norman Conquests, a classic trio of interconnecting plays by Alan Ayckbourn. Seen from differing perspectives, the plays are performed by one ensemble of actors.
General public booking opens March 4 (online only) and March 7 (phone and in person).
Go to cft.org.uk or call 01243 781312.
See tomorrow’s Guide with your News for more on the highlights.