Chichester Festival Theatre unveils summer programme

FOLLOWING its preview in the Observer, the Chichester Festival Theatre has officially unveiled its summer programme.

A major production of the musical Barnum will be the first show at the Theatre in the Park.

Directed by Timothy Sheader, artistic director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, the production will star Broadway entertainer Christopher Fitzgerald in the title role.

It will be one of two productions taking place in the Theatre in the Park this year, the other being Neville’s Island, directed by Angus Jackson.

The Theatre in the Park, a temporary auditorium, will be erected in June in Oaklands Park.

The purpose-built temporary building will house 1,400 seats, and a thrust stage. It is designed to mirror the auditorium of the Festival Theatre.

The revised version of Barnum, by Cameron Mackintosh and Mark Bramble, will run from July 15 to August 31.

The second production to run in the temporary theatre will be Neville’s Island, by Tim Firth, from September 11 to 28.

A spokesman for the theatre said the comedy promised to be a ‘technically and visually ambitious staging’.

220,000 people visited the Chichester Festival Theatre for its 2012 season – the highest ever.

The season will be opened by returning director Richard Eyre, whose musical The Pajama Game will be staged in the Minerva Theatre from April 22 to June 8.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui will also return to the Minerva Theatre, then transfer to the West End, with Henry Goodman reprising his award-winning role of last year, from August 15 to September 14.

Other performances for the season include the world premiere of political drama If Only, and Another Country by Julian Mitchell.

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, directed by Dale Rooks, will present Roald Dahl’s The Witches in the Minerva Theatre over the Christmas period.

Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens on Tuesday (February 26) for online and booking forms only.

Telephone and in person bookings for Friends opens on March 5.

General online booking opens on March 7.

Telephone and counter booking opens for all on March 11.

Tickets range in price from £10 to £40.