WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link

James Nesbitt, Hugh Bonneville, Sheila Hancock and more announced for Chichester Festival Theatre 2019 season

The theatre's upcoming season includes a revival of Oklahoma

Hadley Fraser, Amara Okereke, James Nesbitt, Clare Burt, Hugh Bonneville and Sheila Hancock
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Chichester Festival Theatre today announces its 2019 season which features appearances from actors including James Nesbitt, Sheila Hancock, Nancy Carroll, Hugh Bonneville, John Simm and many more.

Jeremy Sams directs a revival of Oklahoma! starring Hyoie O'Grady as Curly and Josie Lawrence as Aunt Eller. Amara Okereke will play Laurey in the piece, which runs from 15 July to 7 September in the Festival Theatre. Robert Jones is the designer, while choreography is from Matt Cole, costume from Brigitte Reiffenstuel, musical supervision from Nigel Lilley, lighting from Mark Henderson and sound from Paul Groothius.

The other musical running as part of the season is by The Calendar Girls writer Tim Firth. This Is My Family opens in April this year, directed by the theatre's artistic director Daniel Evans. It will star Nesbitt and Hancock, Clare Burt, Kirsty MacLaren, Rachel Lumberg and Scott Folan. Designs are from Richard Kent, lighting by David Plater, sound by Paul Arditti and musical directions from Caroline Humphris. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille oversees the movement.

The piece follows what happens when the 13 year-old Nicky wins a holiday anywhere in the world for her entire family. The problem is, her family aren't the blissfully happy lot she's pretended they are. This Is My Family runs 20 April to 15 June in the Minerva theatre.

The Orange Tree's Paul Miller is due to direct Macbeth at the theatre, starring John Simm and Dervla Kirwan between 21 September and 26 October. The contemporary production has designs from Simon Daw, with lighting by Mark Doubleday.

In April, Rachel Kavanaugh will direct Shadowlands by William Nicholson with Downton Abbey star Bonneville. The piece opened in the West End in 1989 and tells of CS Lewis and what happens when New York poet Joy Gresham arrives in England to visit him with her young son. Designs for the show are from Peter McKintosh, with lighting by Howard Harrison, music from Catherine Jayes and sound by Fergus O'Hare.

David Hare's Plenty runs in the Festival Theatre, directed by Kate Hewitt between 7 and 29 June. Rachael Stirling plays Susan Traherne a former secret agent living as the wife of a diplomat in post-war Britain. Georgia Lowe designs.

Nancy Carroll is to star as Hester Collyer in Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Paul Foster between 21 June and 27 July in the Minerva Theatre. Hadley Fraser joins Carroll alongside Gerald Kyd in the play, which takes place over the course of one day and in one room and explores love and solitude. The piece will be designed by Peter McKintosh with lighting from Natasha Chivers, music from Debbie Wiseman and sound from George Dennis.

New play 8 Hotels opens as part of the season in August, directed by Richard Eyre. Nicholas Wright's work is set in 1944 and tells of Paul Robeson, Uta Hagen and her husband José Ferrer, who all star in Othello, as the titular character, Desdemona and Iago. Designs are from Rob Howell, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard.

Also in August, Cordelia Lynn's interpretation of Hedda Gabler, Hedda Tesman will run in a co-production with Headlong Theatre and The Lowry. Directed by Holly Race Roughan, the play puts a bitter and bored Hedda in 2019, when her estranged daughter suddenly asks for help. It runs between 30 August and 28 September. Anna Fleischle designs.

The Spiegeltent is a new venue for the theatre, which will house a range of events including an immersive staging of Roy Williams' Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, directed by Nicole Charles. The piece runs from 5 October to 2 November and is set in a pub. It follows what happens when England play Germany in a World Cup qualifying match and the pub football team is about to charge in.

Michael Morpurgo's The Butterfly Lion is being staged in a new adaptation by Anna Ledwich directed by Dale Rooks. The show is recommended for ages 7-plus and tells of Bertie when he is sent from his home in Africa to school in England. Simon Higlett designs the show which has music by Tom Brady, movement by Naomi Said, puppetry by Nick Barnes and additional music by Luyanda Lennox Jezile.

Evans said: "Festival 2019 continues our aim of giving audiences the breadth of work they expect and relish."

The Chichester Festival Theatre Youth Theatre will also stage Anna Ledwich's new play Crossing Lines, a promenade production in August and over Christmas they will stage The Wizard of Oz in the Festival Theatre over Christmas.