Edward Fox, Amanda Holden and Felicity Kendal are among the stars announced for Chichester Festival Theatre’s new season

Stepping Out
Stepping Out
The Kings Theatre, Southsea

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EDWARD Fox, Amanda Holden, Imogen Stubbs and Felicity Kendal are among the big names as Chichester Festival Theatre prepares to launch its autumn season next week.

Ahead of the full announcement on September 6, the CFT has confirmed a number of shows lined up, promising the ‘customary great mix of drama, family shows, music and comedy.’

Edward Fox stars in a new, one-man play Sand In The Sandwiches celebrating the poet John Betjeman at the Minerva Theatre from November 2-12. Written by Hugh Whitemore and directed by Gareth Armstrong, it travels from Betjeman’s boyhood to life as Britain’s Poet Laureate.

Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson line up in Stepping Out at the Festival Theatre from November 8-19.

CFT spokeswoman Lucinda Morrison said: ‘Funny and heart-warming, Richard Harris’s uplifting play Stepping Out charts the lives of seven women and one man attempting to tap their troubles away at a weekly dancing class.

‘Initially all thumbs and left feet, the group is just getting to grips with the basics when they are asked to take part in a charity gala.

‘Amanda Holden leads an all-star cast including Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson, directed by Olivier Award-winning Maria Friedman.’

Also coming up are Frantic Assembly with Things I Know To Be True at the Minerva from November 15-26.

Starring Imogen Stubbs and Natalie Casey, it is a complex and intense story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings that is touching, funny, poetic and brutally frank.

Felicity Kendal stars in A Room With A View at the Festival Theatre from November 29-December 3. The 1985 Merchant Ivory screen version of EM Forster’s novel is widely cherished as one of the best romantic films of all time. This new adaptation by Simon Reade is directed by former RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, fresh from his acclaimed production of Ross in Festival 2016.

Returning to the CFT programme are the Christmas Concerts at the Festival Theatre from December 6-10. The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth and Chichester Cathedral Choir lead a celebration of the festive season with traditional carols and seasonal sing-alongs.

Christmas itself will be celebrated with Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of EM Barrie’s magical story Peter Pan from December 17-31.

In tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the new year brings Spymonkey: The Complete Deaths at Minerva Theatre from February 14-18. Brighton-based Spymonkey will perform all 74 deaths from Shakespeare’s works – sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, always hysterically.

Public booking opens on September 17 online at cft.org.uk and on September 20 through the box office, 01243 781312.