New play and a new stage

Canvas, starring Sarah Hadland and Dean Lennox Kelly, is being performed at Chichester Festival Theatre from May 18 - June 16.

Canvas, starring Sarah Hadland and Dean Lennox Kelly, is being performed at Chichester Festival Theatre from May 18 - June 16.

CBBC Presenter Michael Absalom  visits You're a Star Theatre School

Theatre school visited by CBBC presenter

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Many people dream of getting away from the stresses of modern life – and that’s exactly what actors Sarah Hadland and Dean Lennox Kelly are doing as they star in a new play, Canvas, at Chichester Festival Theatre from May 18-June 16.

Written by award-winning playwright Michael Wynne, the comedy shines a light on three couple’s busy lives.

Camping in the rural Welsh countryside, Justine and Alan are reluctant to explain what they’re escaping from, Bridget and Rory are seasoned campers with domestic issues, and Alistair and Amanda seem to live upwardly mobile lives.

Best known for her role in the award-winning Miranda, in which she plays her best friend, Sarah Hadland plays Bridget, while Dean Lennox Kelly, well-known for his role as Kev Ball in Shameless, will play Alan.

Hattie Ladbury plays Amanda, Elliot Levey plays Rory, Oliver Milburn plays Alistair, Lucy Montgomery plays Justine, and Lisa Palfrey plays Bronwyn.

Canvas is Michael Wynne’s first play for Chichester Festival Theatre, and is being performed on one of the theatre’s two permanent stages, the Minerva Theatre.

As the theatre celebrates 50 years with Festival 2012, there’s another brand new feature, with the recently announced schedule for Theatre On The Fly.

The temporary new space is for the next generation of theatre-makers, and echoes the traditions of The Tent, a second auditorium which appeared opposite the Festival Theatre in 1983.

Three young directors have trained at Chichester Festival Theatre during the past five years, and now their debut Chichester productions – Blue Remembered Hills, Playhouse Creatures and Fred’s Diner - will be at the heart of the season.

Written by Denise Potter, Blue Remembered Hill is running from June 26-July 14 and is being directed by Anna Ledwich.

During a summer afternoon during the Second World War, a group of seven-year-olds play, fight and fantasise, but events take a darker turn as childlike games begin to reveal their fears.

Following on from the play is Playhouse Creates by April Angelis. Directed by Michael Oakley, it runs from July 19-August 11.

Charles II has been restored to the throne and at his command, the theatres have finally re-opened. But for the first time in English history, women are allowed to perform on stage.

The third and final play at Theatre On The Fly is Fred’s Diner by Penelope Skinner. Directed by Tim Hoare, it runs from August 15-September 2.

Fred’s American Diner is on a busy English motorway. Chloe wants to emigrate, Melissa dreams of university, Heather wants to rebuild her life, Sunny wants Heather – and someone is going to kill Fred.

Tickets for Canvas cost £29.50 to £33.50, and Theatre On The Fly performances cost £17, from Chichester Festival Theatre on (01243) 781312 or go to cft.org.uk.

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