Chichester Festival Theatre announces new season for 2021

Last Updated on 17 May 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

New works by Zoe Cooper and Suhayla El-Bushra and revivals of plays by Martin McDonagh and David Storey feature in Chichester Festival Theatre’s 2021 season after it reopens in July

Chichester Festival Theatre 2021

Two new plays will premiere alongside revivals of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane and David Storey’s Home as part of the 2021 season at Chichester’s Festival and Minerva theatres.

After reopening in July with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, the theatres will present new works, The Flock by Zoe Cooper, and Suhayla El-Bushra’s adaptation of Andrea Levy’s The Long Song. December will see the return of Pinocchio, adapted by Anna Ledwich with music by Tom Brady.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane will be staged in a co-production with Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London, directed by the Lyric’s artistic director, Rachel O’Riordan. Storey’s 1970 play, Home, will be directed by Josh Roche.

Chichester Festival Theatre’s artistic director, Danial Evans, said: “These plays – each with a director new to CFT at the helm – take us from the South Pacific to Jamaica, rural Ireland, the north-east of England and back to the Home Counties. All engage, in varying ways, with the differences that divide us – from racial prejudice to warring families, social mores and conflicting beliefs – and whether tolerance and understanding can bring us together.”

The full cast of South Pacific has also been announced, led by Gina Beck as Nellie, Julian Ovenden as Emile, Rob Houchen as Cable, Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary, Keir Charles as Luther Billis and Sera Maehara as Liat.

The cast also includes Iroy Abesamis, Lindsay Atherton, Carl Au, Rosanna Bates, David Birrell, Leslie Garcia Bowman, Taylor Bradshaw, Bobbie Chambers, Charlotte Coggin, Danny Collins, Oliver Edward, Sergio Giacomelli, Shailan Gohil, Adrian Grove, Zack Guest, Cameron Bernard Jones, Amanda Lindgren, Matthew Maddison, Melissa Nettleford, Rachel Jayne Picar, Kate Playdon, Pierce Rogan, Clancy Ryan, Charlie Waddell and James Wilkinson-Jones, with children’s roles played by Lana Lakha, Kami Lieu, David Ngara O’Dwyer and Alexander Quinlan.

Directed by Chichester’s artistic director, Daniel Evans, it will run in the main Festival Theatre from 5 July to 4 September 2021, streamed online on selected dates in August and September.

The Flock will play in the Minerva Theatre from 6 to 28 August, directed by Guy Jones and starring Selina Cadell. Described as “compassionate and funny”, it brings together a community of people involved in putting on a parish production of mystery play Noah’s Ark. Cooper’s previous plays include Jess and Joe Forever and Out of Water.

McDonagh’s darkly comic, award-winning The Beauty Queen of Leenane will run in the Minerva Theatre from 3 September to 2 October before transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith from 9 October to 6 November. The cast will include Ingrid Craigie and Kwaku Fortune, with design by Good Teeth Theatre, lighting design by Kevin Treacy, and music and sound by Anna Clock.

Beauty Queen of Leenane cast
Ingrid Craigie and Kwaku Fortune

Charlotte Gwinner will direct The Long Song, running in the Festival Theatre from 1 to 23 October, based on a novel by Andrea Levy, best known for Small Island. Following the experiences of a woman born into slavery in Jamaica, it promises to be an “ebullient and life-affirming” play that finds humanity, resistance and hope in the darkest of times.

The Long Song will be designed by Frankie Bradshaw, with lighting by Mark Doubleday, musical direction, vocal arrangements and additional composition by Michael Henry, sound by Helen Skiera, video by Dick Straker, movement by Angela Gasparetto, fights by Kev McCurdy and casting by Charlotte Sutton with Chandra Ruegg.

Storey’s award-winning modern classic, Home, will run in the Minerva Theatre from 8 October to 6 November. It is described as “heartrendingly funny, haunting and deeply humane”.

Ledwich’s adaptation of Pinocchio, directed by Dale Rooks, will be performed by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre in the Festival Theatre from 18 December to 1 January after it managed only 15 live performances at the end of last year before lockdown. The set is designed by Simon Higlett, with costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by James Whiteside, musical direction by Colin Billing and sound by Gregory Clarke.

Before the buildings open, Chichester Festival Theatre will bring together West End stars including Carly Bawden, Ako Mitchell and Sharon Rose for Concerts in the Park from 3 to 6 June, part of the theatre’s Open Air Weekend.

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.