Theatre News

Chichester Festival Theatre announces 2024 season including Oliver!, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

A bumper first year for new artistic director Justin Audibert!

Artwork for the new season, central photo by Matt Crockett
Artwork for the new season, central photo by Matt Crockett

Chichester Festival Theatre has announced its 2024 season, playing from April to October and marking the first programming for new artistic director Justin Audibert.

Among the shows programmed is The Other Boleyn Girl, directed by Lucy Bailey, which sees Mike Poulton adapt Philippa Gregory’s novel of the same name. The play explores the intrigue of Henry VIII’s court, where power dynamics and personal ambitions collide. Casting and creative team have been announced here. 

Playing in the Minerva from 3 May to 1 June will be Laura Lomas’ The House Party, an adaptation of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, directed by Holly Race Roughan as part of Headlong’s 50th anniversary season. Lomas’s contemporary take explores  friendship and desire against the backdrop of a birthday celebration gone awry. The production’s cast includes Rachelle Diedericks (Our Generation, A View from the Bridge) as Christine and Nadia Parkes (Kidnapped, The Bastard Son and The Devil Himself) as Julie.

It has set design by Loren Elstein, costume design by Maybelle Laye, lighting and video design by Joshua Pharo, music and sound design by Giles Thomas, movement direction by Scott Graham, intimacy direction by Haruka Kuroda and casting by Matilda James CDG.

Helen Edmundson’s Coram Boy, directed by Anna Ledwich and based on the novel by Jamila Gavin, runs from 24 May to 15 June in the Festival Theatre. Set in 18th century England, the piece was first seen at the National Theatre in 2005 and now returns in a new production, which will then transfer to the Lowry in Salford. The designer is Simon Higlett, lighting designer Emma Chapman, composer and sound designer Max Pappenheim, movement director Chi-San Howard and casting director Annelie Powell CDG.

Audibert will then direct Harold Pinter’s classic The Caretaker, featuring a cast including Adam Gillen, Ian McDiarmid, and Jack Riddiford, in his first production since assuming the role of artistic director. It runs from 8 June to 13 July at the Minerva Theatre, and will be designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting design by Simon Spencer, music composed by Jonathan Girling, sound design by Ed Clarke, movement direction by Lucy Cullingford and casting by Jessica Ronane CDG.

In the Festival Theatre from 8 July to 7 September will be a new production of Lionel Bart’s classic Oliver!, newly revised by Cameron Mackintosh. You can find out more about the show (including casting and creative team) here.

The venue will present the world premiere of The Promise, penned by Paul Unwin and based on the experiences of the post-War Labour Government. It has lighting design by Peter Mumford and casting by Annelie Powell CDG, with direction by Jonathan Kent. It runs from 19 July to 19 August.

Continuing the season will be The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, adapted for the stage by David Eldridge and directed by Jeremy Herrin. Running from 23 August to 21 September at the Minerva Theatre. Adaptated from John le Carré’s acclaimed novel, it follows disillusioned British spy Alec Leamas as he faces a final, risky operation against the East German Secret Service.

Following closely is Redlands, directed by Audibert, running from 20 September to 18 October at the Festival Theatre. Written by Charlotte Jones, the play transports audiences to the iconic Redlands estate in 1967, where the Rolling Stones face drug charges. The set designer will be Joanna Scotcher, the composer and orchestrator will be Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, and the casting director Ginny Schiller.

In late September, the Minerva Theatre hosts John Willard’s classic suspense thriller The Cat and The Canary, directed by Paul Hunter. The co-production with Told by an Idiot is set in a remote mansion on Bodmin Moor. Led by Will Merrick, it runs from 27 September to 26 October.

Two festive productions feature –  Hey! Christmas Tree at the Minerva Theatre from 7 to 29 December, inspired by Michael Morpurgo’s book of poems, as well as Cinderella, presented by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre at the Festival Theatre from 17 to 31 December.