New works by Dr Who writer Stephen Moffatt and best-seller Kate Mosse to debut in Chichester Festival Theatre’s diamond anniversary season

NEW plays by acclaimed TV writer Stephen Moffatt and best-selling Chichester author Kate Mosse, as well as a musical written by Alan Bennett, and adaptations of much-loved children’s classics are among the star attractions of Chichester Festival Theatre’s 60th anniversary season.

Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 11:28 am

The Taxidermist’s Daughter, adapted for the stage by Kate Mosse and based on her own novel kicks the season off from April 8 to 30.

Former Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) artistic director Jonathan Church returns to helm an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on The Orient Express, from May 13 toJune 14.

The Unfriend is a new play by Moffatt, who was the showrunner for Dr Who for 12 years, and was also behind BBC’s Sherlock. It is directed by Mark Gatiss, and stars Reece Shearsmith, both of Inside No.9 fame, plus Amanda Abbington and Frances Barber. It is in The Minerva from May 21 to July 9.

The Unfriend (Amanda Abbington, Reece Shearsmith, Frances Barber) at CFT, Festival 2022 Photo by Seamus Ryan

The summer’s big musical is Gershwin’s Crazy For You, starring Charlie Stemp as Bobby, who returns to Chichester where he played Arthur Kipps in the award-winning Half A Sixpence in 2016. It runs from July 11 to September 4.

The Famous Five, a new musical based on the series of books by Enid Blyton is on from October 21 to 25.

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The musical adaptation of Bill Forsyth’s beloved film Local Hero, directed by the CFT’s artistic director Daniel Evans and with music by Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler is in The Minerva from October 8-November 9.

Crazy for You at CFT - Festival 2022 Photo by Seamus Ryan

And at Christmas Chichester Festival Youth Theatre present The Wind in The Willows, adapted for the stage by Alan Bennett.

There will also be 20,500 tickets at £10 in the Festival Theatre and 10,000 £5 Prologue tickets for 16 to 30 year olds.

Artistic director Daniel Evans and executive director Kathy Bourne said: ‘2022 marks our diamond anniversary year and our sparkling Festival Season offers no less than six world premiere productions, three musicals and a host of dramas, as well as community and digital events celebrating 60 years of CFT.

‘Festival 2022 places compelling stories front and centre: joyful, gripping, uplifting and provocative. They teem with 21st century teenagers and 1930s showgirls; London football fans and Scottish environmentalists; Edwardian feminists fighting for justice and American politicians struggling for dominance. A celebrated sleuth, an Anglican vicar, a troubled housewife and overly-polite middle Englanders all have their battles to fight, while ‘the Famous Five’ and Mole, Ratty and Toad go seeking adventure.

Local Hero at CFT Festival 2022 Photo by Seamus Ryan

‘CFT was built by the community, for the community. Nobody in 1962 could have foreseen the digital revolution which has enabled that community to expand worldwide, and to participate in ways undreamt of 60 years ago.

‘Our digital celebrations will include a unique link-up with the Festival Theatre in Stratford Ontario – a key inspiration for CFT’s unique hexagonal design – on our 60th anniversary itself.

‘Meanwhile, audiences across the country will be able to see 2021’s South Pacific in person when it tours to 10 UK and Ireland venues, as well as its run at Sadler’s Wells.

‘Three Festival 2022 productions will pilot the standards set out in the Theatre Green Book, continuing our mission to make all our activities environmentally conscious.

The Southbury Child (with Alex Jennings) at CFT, Festival 2022 & The Bridge Theatre Photo Michael Wharley, image Muse Creative

‘Off-stage, our events have a refreshed focus on young people’s voices, including a National Youth Conference and CFT Lates. And we are delighted to be co-producing work with the National Theatre, The Bridge Theatre and Theatr Clwyd.

‘In happy serendipity, we join with our fellow cultural organisations in Chichester marking significant anniversaries this year with a district-wide festival Culture Spark. After a challenging couple of years, we are all surely in need of a celebration.’

Booking for The Taxidermist’s Daughter and Our Generation is open now.

Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens on Saturday March 12 (online and booking forms only), and Tuesday, March 15 (phone and in person).

Booking for Groups and Schools opens on Thursday, March 17.

General booking opens on Saturday, March 19 (online only), and Tuesday, March 22 (phone and in person).

For full details or to book tickets, go to cft.org.uk or call 01243 781312.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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