Chichester Festival Theatre: What's on? Where is it? Which acts are coming soon?

Chichester Festival Theatre can be found in the heart of the cathedral city and has a reputation as one of the leading production houses in the UK.

Tuesday, 12th June 2018, 3:05 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:18 pm

The festival season usually runs from April to November and includes productions from classics to contemporary writing and musicals.

A range of additional events is designed to add to the experience of visiting the theatre, including performances, cabarets, family days, tours and talks. Through the winter months, the theatre presents touring productions and a Christmas show mounted by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

Where is it?

Chichester Festival Theatre SUS-181106-184156008

Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Park, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6AP

Box office: 01243 781312 or [email protected]

Nearest carpark: Northgate, Chichester, PO19 6AA (pay and display)

Nearest railway station: Chichester Railway Station

Capacity: Festival Theatre 1,300, Minerva Theatre 310

Opened: 1962

Architect: Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya

A brief history:

It was founded by former city mayor, Leslie Evershed-Martin, following an idea he had whilst watching a television programme in 1959 about the Stratford Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario in Canada. His vision was for a seasonal festival of theatre to be staged in a space inspired by the revolutionary thrust design of the Canadian theatre.

It was the vision of Laurence Olivier, the CFT’s first artistic director, that the theatre would produce several shows to run in repertoire sharing the same ensemble cast; and so it was the theatre opened in 1962 with a ‘festival’ of three shows which were to run for three weeks.

Between ‘62 and ‘65 Olivier established a company of actors and other theatre practitioners at Chichester which provided the nucleus of his National Theatre Company.

The theatre is a Grade II* listed building, with its smaller and more intimate Minerva Theatre built nearby in 1989.

Which famous acts have played there?

The Chichester Festival Theatre has hosted a huge number of famous faces over the years.

These include Patrick Stewart, Joseph Fiennes, Ian McKellen, Fay Compton, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Bonneville, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Ball, Chaim Topol and the first artistic director Laurence Olivier.

What’s on this season?

COPENHAGEN, August 17 – September 22 2018, Minerva Theatre

FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS, September 8-29 2018, Festival Theatre

COCK, September 28 – October 27 2018, Minerva Theatre

THE MIDNIGHT GANG, October 13 – November 3 2018, Festival Theatre

THE WATSONS, November 3 – December 1 2018, Minerva Theatre

SLEEPING BEAUTY, December 15-30 2018, Festival Theatre

RELAXED PERFORMANCE: SLEEPING BEAUTY, December 30 2018, Festival Theatre

MOSCOW’S CITY BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER, January 3-6 2019, Festival Theatre


HEJIRA, January 5 2019, Minerva Theatre

HE AIN’T HEAVY, January 9 2019, Minerva Theatre

CLARE TEAL AND HER BIG MINI BIG BAND, January 9 2019, Festival Theatre

OVATION ROCK SHOW, January 11&12 2019, Minerva Theatre

THE MOZART QUESTION, January 11 2019, Festival Theatre


BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA: FAMILY CONCERT, January 13 2019, Festival Theatre

JUDY CARMICHAEL: SWING TIME! January 13 2019, Minerva Theatre

CHILDREN’S CONCERT, January 15 2019, Festival Theatre

TWELFTH NIGHT, January 15-26 2019, Minerva Theatre

CHICHESTER SINGS LIVE! January 17 2019, Festival Theatre

SANDI TOKSVIG LIVE! NATIONAL TREVOR, January 18 2019, Festival Theatre

WIRELESS WISE, January 19 2019, Festival Theatre

ART, January 4 – February 2 2019, Festival Theatre

THE DARK, January 28&29 2019, Minerva Theatre

TRUTH, January 31 and February 1 2019, Minerva Theatre

SOUTH AFRICAN CULTURAL CHOIR, February 2 2019, Minerva Theatre

TRIAL BY LAUGHTER, February 4-9 2019, Festival Theatre

THE UNRETURNING, 5 – 9 February 5-9 2019, Minerva Theatre

ROUGH CROSSING, February 11-16 2019, Festival Theatre

THE LIFE I LEAD, February 11-16 2019, Minerva Theatre