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Chichester Festival Theatre 2020 season to include Assassins, South Pacific, Mark Gatiss, Andrea Levy and more

A whole raft of exciting shows have been unveiled by the venue

Frances Barber, Reece Shearsmith, Cherrelle Skeete, Amanda Abbington, Rob Houchen and Gina Beck
© Dan Wooller for WhatsONStage

Chichester Festival Theatre has announced its 2020 season, with shows running from spring right the way through until the winter.

The venue's artistic director Daniel Evans will direct a new revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific from 6 July to 29 August in the Festival Theatre. Set during the Second World War, the show will star Gina Beck (Matilda) as Nellie, Julian Ovenden (Merrily We Roll Along) as Emile, Joanna Ampil (Miss Saigon) as Bloody Mary and Rob Houchen (The Light in the Piazza) as Cable.

The set and costume designer is Peter McKintosh, and the choreographer and movement director is Ann Yee. Musical supervision is by Tom Murray, musical direction by Cat Beveridge, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Paul Groothuis and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

Mark Gatiss will direct a new play by Steven Moffat, The Unfriend. Following a married couple who have an unexpected visitor who wreaks havoc on their middle-class idyll, the show will star Amanda Abbington (Sherlock), Frances Barber (Musik) and Reece Shearsmith (Inside No 9). Robert Jones designs, with lighting by Mark Henderson and casting by Charlotte Sutton. It runs from 17 July to 22 August in the Minerva Theatre.

Suhayla El-Bushra will adapt Andrea Levy's seminal novel The Long Song for the stage in a new production that runs from 28 August to 26 September. Directed by Charlotte Gwinner, the piece follows the story of Amity who works on a plantation as slavery is abolished. It will star Cherrelle Skeete (The High Table) and Maggie Service (Quiz). The production will be designed by Alex Lowde, 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 Rachael Nanyonjo and casting by Charlotte Sutton with Chandra Ruegg.

The venue is reintroducing a repertory company for two of its shows – Jonathan Munby's staging of Kate Mosse's The Taxidermist's Daughter (adapted by Mosse herself) as well as a revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins, directed by Polly Findlay. The former runs from 12 September to 30 October in the Festival Theatre with design by Jon Bausor, with lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Christopher Shutt, movement by Charlotte Broom, fight direction by Kate Waters and casting by Juliet Horsley. The latter opens in the same venue, where it plays from 29 September to 31 October, with design by Lizzie Clachan and casting by Charlotte Sutton. The members of the company are to be announced.

The season will kick off with a revival of Brecht's masterful deep-dive into the worlds of science and religion The Life of Galileo, in translation by David Edgar. Jonathan Church directs, with Henry Goodman starring in the piece, which will be designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Matthew Scott, sound by Paul Groothuis, video by Dick Straker, movement by Jenny Arnold, casting by Juliet Horsley and children's casting by Verity Naughton. It runs from 24 April to 16 May in the Festival Theatre.

Ola Ince will direct a new play by Christopher Shinn, entitled The Narcissist. Running from 2 to 24 October, the show explores personal and political communication in the internet age. Casting is by Amy Ball.

Richard Coyle and Lisa Dillon will star in a revival of Tom Stoppard's award-winning The Real Thing from 7 May to 6 June. Directed by Simon Evans, the show runs in the Minerva Theatre from 7 May to 6 June. The production is designed by Grace Smart, with music and sound by Alex Baranowski and casting by Juliet Horsley.

Jay Presson Allan's adaptation of Muriel Spark's hit novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will be staged by Rachael Kavanaugh in the Festival Theatre from 29 May to 20 June. Following a Scottish finishing school in the 1930s, it will be designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Howard Harrison, music by Catherine Jayes, sound by Fergus O'Hare, movement by Georgina Lamb and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

Penelope Skinner's award-winning play The Village Bike will be directed by Nicole Charles in the Minerva Space from 12 June to 4 July. Exploring the nature of human desire and impending motherhood, the piece is designed by Madeleine Girling, with lighting by Prema Mehta, sound by George Dennis and casting by Charlotte Sutton.

The Spiegeltent will return after a rousing five-star revival of Roy Williams' Sing Yer Heart Out For the Lads in 2019. Tinuke Craig will direct Sarah Kane's Crave, with design by Alex Lowde, sound by Anna Clock and casting by Charlotte Sutton. The piece runs from 16 to 31 October. The venue will also host a festive staging of Pinocchio, penned by Anna Ledwich.

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