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Jonathan Church announces Chichester departure date

Church and executive director Alan Finch will step down next year

Jonathan Church
© Dan Wooller

Artistic director Jonathan Church and executive director Alan Finch have announced they are to step down from their respective roles at Chichester Festival Theatre at the end of September 2016.

Both Church and Finch joined CFT in 2005, overseeing the organisation's 50th anniversary in 2012 and the recent £22 million redevelopment of the Festival Theatre.

Church said: "It has been a privilege and a joy to have been the custodians of this very special theatre for the last decade and to have worked alongside some of the country's most skilled actors and creative teams.

"It will be painful leaving a theatre that feels like our creative home but regional theatres thrive on new ideas and new energies. I like to think we will hand this wonderful theatre over to its next caretakers in an excellent position to build further on its extraordinary history."

Under their tenure, the company has produced over 100 productions including 22 new plays (including the multi award-winning Enron), winning over 40 awards for the work and more than doubling audience numbers, playing to 95% capacity in 2014.

Notable productions include landmark revivals of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Singin' in the Rain, Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui and Gypsy, all of which transferred to the West End.

Alan Finch added: "We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most loyal audiences, generous supporters and sponsors I have ever come across. Without their support, Jonathan and I would never have been able to achieve what we have."

Their successors will be announced at the end of 2015.