The Chichester Festival Theatre today announced this year's plans for its acclaimed summer festival. The 2001 season, which runs from 23 May to 29 September 2001, will include revivals of Tom Stoppard and Terrence Rattigan (pictured), the British premiere of a Gershwin musical and a new version of Chekhov's Three Sisters. Casting highlights include David Bamber, Desmond Barrit, Christopher Staines, Sophie Ward, Janie Dee and a pair of Cirque du Soleil acrobats.

The Festival Theatre season launches with Tom Stoppard's On the Razzle, which opens on 29 May and continues to 14 July (previews from 23 May). Peter Wood directs the first major revival of this farce, adapted from Johann Nestroy's 19th-century comedy, since it premiered at the National in 1981.

When a rich merchant jaunts off to Vienna to woo his new mistress, his beautiful young ward elopes with her penniless suitor and his two assistants cut loose for a night on the town. Where are they all headed? To the same place, of course - in haste, in heat and in cognito. The cast for On the Razzle is headed by Olivier Award winners David Bamber and Desmond Barrit. Interestingly, Cirque du Soleil's twin-brother acrobats Andrew and Kevin Atherton also appear.

Terrence Rattigan's celebrated play The Winslow Boy joins Stoppard in repertoire from 12 June to 4 August (previews from 6 June). Based on a true story which filled the front pages in 1910 and stirred a nation's outrage, this drama tells of faith, decency and the quest for justice as a devoted father fights to clear the name of his son. The cast, directed by Christopher Morahan, will be led by Edward Hardwick and Polly Adams as Mr and Mrs Winslow.

The third Festival production will be the British premiere of the Gershwin musical My One and Only , which first appeared on Broadway in 1983 starring Twiggy. Based on the 1927 show Funny Face, My One and Only features a string of Gershwin gems woven into a romantic story concerning a daredevil aviator whose plans to become the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic are thrown loop-the-loop when he falls for a beautiful cross Channel swimmer. Loveday Ingram directs the production which stars Olivier Award-winning star Janie Dee. My One and Only opens on 24 July and continues to 22 September (previews from 19 July).

Running in repertoire with My One and Only, the final production of the season will be Anton Chekhov's classic Three Sisters, in the British premiere of a new version by Brian Friel. A busy summer is guaranteed for Janie Dee who makes her second appearance of the season as sister Masha in the cast that also includes Hermione Gulliford, Christopher Staines and Sophie Ward. Directed again by Ingram, Three Sisters runs from 28 August to 29 September (previews from 22 August).

- by Terri Paddock