Winter Season 202223 At Chichester Festival Theatre - The Directory Group


Chichester Festival Theatre’s Winter season offers a rich array of some of the best touring productions currently on offer in the UK.


Musicals include the international smash hit SIX, returning after its sell-out run in 2019; the double Olivier and Tony Award-winning Girl From The North Country with legendary songs by Bob Dylan; and the first ever professional touring production of the joyous musical comedy Bugsy Malone.


Star-studded dramas and comedies include Caroline Quentin in a revival of Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession; Miles Jupp and Justin Edwards in The Lavender Hill Mob; Hayley Mills, Paul Nicholas and Rula Lenska in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; and the West End hit Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of). And is pantomime only for Christmas? Mother Goose flies in to persuade you that oh no it isn’t!


The Christmas centrepiece from the ever-popular Chichester Festival Youth Theatre is Alan Bennett’s witty and enchanting adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, while Dear Santa offers an opportunity for young children to experience theatre for the first time and the Christmas Concerts form the traditional festive season opener.


A host of concerts, talks, dance and stand-up comedy include Tim Peake, Stewart Lee, Jen Brister, Pam Ayres, Joe Stilgoe, Chineke! Orchestra, Dotdotdot Dance and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Off-stage events range from Half Term Hangouts for refugees and asylum seekers to Festivall, celebrating the creativity and talent of learning disabled and neurodivergent people, a Lightning Bug Dance Workshop and a special Fizz & Feminism with the cast of SIX. We are also proud to be hosting a national Youth Conference bringing together young people, alongside organisations and individuals who work with them, who are changing and challenging the cultural landscape.



Plays and Musicals


SIX                                                                  Festival Theatre, 22 – 27 November
For ages 10+

Reigning on Broadway and in the West End, the international smash hit musical SIX – winner of the 2022 Tony Award for Best Original Score, the 2022 WhatsOnStage Award for Best West End Show and a Gold Disc-winning album – makes its royal return to Chichester following its previous sell-out success. This Tudor take-off is written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss.


Divorced. Beheaded. Live! From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power. These Queens may have green sleeves but their lipstick is rebellious red.




Caroline Quentin and Rose Quentin in

MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION      Festival Theatre, 29 November – 3 December

Caroline Quentin and her real-life daughter Rose Quentin star in George Bernard Shaw’s witty and provocative play.


What is Mrs Warren’s profession? Mrs Warren’s daughter Vivie has never really known much about her mother. A sensible young woman, she has enjoyed a comfortable upbringing, a Cambridge education, a generous monthly allowance and now has ambitions to go into Law. Is it conceivable that her privilege and respectability has been financed from the profits of the world’s oldest profession? How will Vivie react when she finds out the startling truth about her mother’s business empire and that freedom comes at an emotional price?


Shaw’s acid test of a mother-daughter relationship was written in 1894 but banned for thirty years by a Lord Chamberlain who found it ‘immoral and improper’. Mrs Warren’s Profession is a ripe attack on English hypocrisy and its ‘fashionable morality’.


Twice winner of the British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Actress, Caroline Quentin made her Chichester debut in 2018’s Me and My Girl. Her many television roles have ranged from Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek to Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing on the Edge. Rose Quentin starred in the horror movie York Witches Society shortly after graduating in 2019 and recently appeared on tour in a new stage version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Director Anthony Banks was Associate Director at the National Theatre from 2004 – 2014. His many directing credits include The Girl on the Train, Gaslight, After Miss Julie and My Cousin Rachel.



CHRISTMAS CONCERTS                             Festival Theatre, 5 – 10 December
The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood

And Chichester Cathedral Choir
For ages 7+

Begin the season in traditional style, with the exhilarating ensemble of The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines once again joining the rousing voices of the Cathedral Choir to present a beautifully wrapped musical celebration. Customary carols sit alongside some classics and new arrangements in a programme guaranteed to leave audiences full of Christmas cheer.



DEAR SANTA LIVE                                       Minerva Theatre, 10 – 24 December
For ages 2 – 7                                                Morning and matinee performances

Santa is determined to deliver the most fantastic Christmas present to Sarah, but he doesn’t get it right straight away! With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something ‘perfect’, just in time for Christmas Eve.

From the author of the well-loved children’s book Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell, comes Dear Santa Live: an ideal introduction to theatre for those aged 2+. The Christmas cheer continues with the opportunity to meet Santa in his grotto after the show, where every child will receive a special gift.




Chichester Festival Youth Theatre present

By Kenneth Grahame

Adapted for the stage by Alan Bennett

Music and Additional Lyrics by Jeremy Sams

Directed by Dale Rooks

17 – 31 December, Festival Theatre

Press night: Tuesday 20 December
For ages 7+


Alan Bennett’s stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 story, originally seen at the National Theatre, has become a classic in its own right: faithful to the spirit of Grahame’s immortal characters while laced with Bennett’s inimitable wit, making this a delight for children and adults alike.


The inquisitive Mole abandons spring-cleaning his burrow and, to his delight, discovers the river. There he meets Ratty, a water vole with a passion for boats. Soon the two are firm friends and settle down to life in Ratty’s riverbank home, surrounded by the neighbouring otters, rabbits, fieldmice and hedgehogs.


Over at Toad Hall, the ebullient Toad persuades them to join an excursion in a horse-pulled caravan – only for disaster to strike when they are overturned into a ditch. But the accident ignites Toad’s passion for motorcars… And Mole can’t resist the temptation of another adventure, braving the snowy and threatening Wild Wood to find the elusive Badger, who welcomes Mole and Rat into his own cosy home.


But can the three friends save Toad from the consequences of his terrible driving, and defeat their enemies, the hungry and wily weasels and ferrets?


Dale Rooks, whose Chichester productions include The Butterfly Lion, The Midnight Gang and Pinocchio, directs a Chichester Festival Youth Theatre show that perfectly combines humour and enchantment with a delicious shiver of danger.


The Wind in the Willows will have set design by Simon Higlett, costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, musical direction by Colin Billing, lighting by James Whiteside and sound by Gregory Clarke.


Recommended for ages 7+. There will be a Polish-interpreted performance on 20 December at 2pm and a Relaxed performance on 28 December at 2pm.


This amateur production of The Wind in the Willows is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.



Miles Jupp and Justin Edwards in

THE LAVENDER HILL MOB                         Festival Theatre, 10 – 14 January

The men who broke the bank and lost the cargo are back in this brand new, hilarious adaptation of the much-loved classic Ealing Comedy The Lavender Hill Mob. One of the ‘greatest British films of all time’ (BFI) is brought to life on stage by Olivier-nominated playwright Phil Porter, directed by Tony and Olivier-nominated Jeremy Sams and starring acclaimed comic actors Miles Jupp (A Very British Scandal, Mock The Week, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans) and Justin Edwards (The Thick of It, 1917, The Ferryman).


This side-splittingly funny, fast-paced comedy tells the story of Henry Holland, an unassuming bank clerk who dreams of stealing the van full of gold bullion he drives across London each day. When Henry learns that his new lodger makes Eiffel Tower paperweights out of lead, he devises a plan to make his dream a reality. It’s a golden opportunity to pull off the crime of the century; they’d have to be fools to mess it up…


GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY          Festival Theatre, 24 – 28 January.
Celebrated playwright Conor McPherson (The Weir, The Seafarer) boldly reimagines the legendary songs of Bob Dylan like you’ve never heard them before, in the double Olivier and Tony Award-winning West End and Broadway hit musical Girl From The North Country – an uplifting and universal story about family and love, brought vividly to life by an extraordinary company of actors and musicians.

It’s 1934 in the heartland of America and a group of wayward souls cross paths in a time-weathered guesthouse. Standing at a turning point in their lives, they realise nothing is what it seems. But as they search for a future, and hide from the past, they find themselves facing unspoken truths about the present.



THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL     Festival Theatre, 31 January – 4 February
Based on Deborah Moggach’s Sunday Times bestseller, which inspired one of this century’s most treasured films, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes us on a journey to India with an eclectic group of British retirees as they embark on a new life. The luxury residence is far from the opulence they were promised but, as their lives begin to intertwine, they are charmed in unexpected and life-changing ways.


This joyous comedy about taking risks, finding love and embracing second chances, even in the most surprising of places, stars the icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winner, Hayley Mills (Wild at Heart, Pollyanna, The Parent Trap), household favourite and screen and stage star Paul Nicholas (Jesus Christ Superstar, Just Good Friends, EastEnders) and Rula Lenska (Rock Follies, Coronation Street, EastEnders), and also features Andy de la Tour (Notting Hill, Star Wars, The Young Ones), Rekha John-Cheriyan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Tomb Raider, Hollyoaks) and Marlene Sidaway (Coronation Street, Pride and Prejudice).


MOTHER GOOSE                                          Festival Theatre, 7 – 11 February
Ages 6+

You can’t put on a panto in February, right? Oh yes we can!


Running an Animal Sanctuary for waifs and strays, Mother Goose has a good, kind heart. But will unexpected money and fame get the better of her? Mother Goose promises to be full of fun, laughter and more than a couple of surprises. Get ready for good fairies, evil witches and gravity-defying poultry.


Keep your eyes peeled for an exciting cast announcement for this hilarious family-friendly panto and get ready for take-off.



HOW NOT TO DROWN                                 Minerva Theatre, 14 – 18 February
Ages 14+

Award-winning theatre company ThickSkin returns to the stage with an action-packed, highly visual production telling the painful yet uplifting true story of an eleven year-old unaccompanied asylum-seeker, written by Nicola McCartney and Dritan Kastrati, and directed and choreographed by Neil Bettles.


I don’t know why my Dad let me go, especially when he knew how dangerous, how hard it was… I was too young, too weak to make this journey. I wouldn’t have sent me… He wouldn’t have sent me unless there was a reason.” In 2002, in the turmoil after the end of the Kosovan War, Dritan is sent on the notoriously perilous journey across the Adriatic with a gang of people smugglers to a new life in Europe. He relies on his young wit and charm to make it to the UK. But the fight for survival continues as he clings to his identity and sense of self when he ends up in the British care system.


How Not to Drown shares a story of endurance for a little kid who wasn’t safe or welcome anywhere in the world, performed by an ensemble cast starring Dritan Kastrati himself.



BUGSY MALONE                                          Festival Theatre, 15 – 19 February
Ages 6+
Alan Parker
’s world-famous movie becomes a spectacular theatrical experience in this revival of the universally acclaimed Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production, directed by Sean Holmes. Packed with instantly recognisable songs from Oscar winner Paul Williams including My Name is Tallulah, You Give A Little Love and Fat Sam’s Grand Slam, Bugsy Malone is a joyously uplifting masterclass of musical comedy.


Prohibition era, New York. A city full of mobsters, showgirls and dreamers. Rival gangster bosses Fat Sam and Dandy Dan are at loggerheads. The custard pies are flying and Dandy Dan’s gang has gotten the upper hand since obtaining the new-fangled “splurge” gun. Now, Fat Sam and his bumbling buffoons are in real trouble! Enter Bugsy Malone, a penniless one-time boxer and all-round nice guy. All Bugsy really wants to do is spend time with his new love, Blousey, but will he be able to resist seductive songstress Tallulah and stay out of trouble long enough to help Fat Sam to defend his business...?



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE*                            Festival Theatre, 21 – 25 February
(*sort of)

Direct from its triumph in the West End where it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story. Men, money and microphones will be fought over in this irreverent but affectionate adaptation (by Isobel McArthur after Jane Austen), where the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to romance.


It’s the 1800s. It’s party time. Let the ruthless matchmaking begin.



Music, Performance, Dance and Comedy – one night only


                                                                                    Festival Theatre, 18 November

In her 80th birthday year, the BBC Concert Orchestra and top vocalists Katie Birtill, Louise Dearman and Graham Bickley salute multi award-winning Broadway and Hollywood icon Barbra Streisand. This special tribute features rich new orchestral treatments of her best-loved songs and moments from an extraordinary 60-year career, such as the classic duet with Judy Garland.


MIG AND THE BEANSTALK                                    Minerva Theatre, 28 November

Twelve-time RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal winner Mig Kimpton returns with his brand new show, combining 30 years of experience in the world of theatre and his extensive expertise working with flowers to present an evening of colourful stories and even more colourful arrangements.

JUDY CARMICHAEL                                                 Minerva Theatre, 14 January

Grammy-nominated American pianist/vocalist Judy Carmichael is one of the greatest interpreters of stride and swing piano in the world. She is frequently featured on radio and TV internationally including Loose Ends, In Tune, Up All Night and Woman’s Hour.


PAM AYRES                                                              Minerva Theatre, 15 January

Pam Ayres has been making the nation laugh for almost five decades. She will be performing a selection of poems and stories, old and new, from her many books, including Pam Ayres on Animals, which was the UK’s bestselling poetry book of 2021.


BBC Concert Orchestra with JOE STILGOE & BAND

                                                                                    Festival Theatre, 17 January

Singer, pianist and songwriter Joe Stilgoe presents his latest project, Theatre with the BBC Concert Orchestra, celebrating the greatest music of theatre. Featuring songs from Cabaret to Cats, and music by Sondheim, Frank Loesser and Joe Stilgoe himself, the orchestra is joined by players from the British jazz scene and guest singers from the world of theatre.


Tarantara Productions present                               Festival Theatre, 19 January


A 26-piece orchestra and acclaimed soloists perform favourites from The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and others, including some less familiar gems. A glorious celebration of all that’s best in Gilbert & Sullivan’s extraordinary operas, for aficionados and newcomers alike.


LOOKING FOR ME FRIEND                                     Minerva Theatre, 20 January

The Music of Victoria Wood

Written and performed by Paulus of BBC’s All Together Now, Looking For Me Friend celebrates the music of the late comedy genius and national treasure Victoria Wood. Directed by multi-award winning Sarah-Louise Young (An Evening Without Kate Bush) with Michael Roulston (Fascinating Aïda) on piano, this is a nostalgic tribute filled with love, laughter and fabulous memories for Victoria Wood fans.


STEWART LEE: Basic Lee                                      Festival Theatre, 21 January
After a decade of ground-breaking high concept shows, Lee enters the post-pandemic era in streamlined solo stand-up mode. One man, one microphone, and one microphone in the wings in case the one on stage breaks. Pure. Simple. Classic. Basic Lee.


JEN BRISTER: The Optimist Tour                          Minerva Theatre, 26 January

If Jen Brister has learned anything in the past 18 months, it’s that she’s no good in a crisis. Has the pandemic changed her for the better or is she the same old pessimistic naysayer she’s always been? I think we all know the answer to that. Let’s just hope she can make it funny.


GEORGIA CÉCILE                                                    Minerva Theatre, 28 January

Tipped as ‘One To Watch’ by Wonderland Magazine and Jazz FM, Georgia Cécile is at the helm of the new wave of UK jazz crossover artists. Inspired by the likes of Nancy Wilson, Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder, the vocalist and songwriter performs numbers from her debut album ‘Only The Lover Sings’, which topped the UK Jazz and Blues charts.


Dotdotdot Dance: BLUE GHOST                            Minerva Theatre, 4 February

A visual, dynamic and luminous contemporary flamenco dance show that leads us into the light and dark of our natural world through the beauty of the Blue Ghost Firefly. Rich, rhythmical and expressive flamenco meets live electronic music (Nick Rothwell, Cassiel) in a nostalgic celebration. Choreographed by Luz & Mannion and produced by Dotdotdot Dance, this show is also a collaboration with insect conservation societies Xerces and Buglife UK.

CHINEKE! ORCHESTRA                                          Minerva Theatre, 20 February
The Chineke! Orchestra – Europe’s first majority-Black and ethnically diverse orchestra – has taken the world by storm with its exhilarating energy and infectious enthusiasm. Founded in 2015 by the double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku CBE, Chineke! Orchestra will showcase works by Black and Indigenous musicians, from William Grant Still’s celebration of African-American experience to the blues energy of young US composer Valerie Coleman, alongside acclaimed pieces including Ravel and Ligeti.


BORN TO EXIST:                                                      Minerva Theatre, 24 February
The Woman I Know by Joseph Toonga

This Hip Hop Dance Theatre Production forms the third part of Joseph Toonga’s nationally acclaimed Hip Hop Dance trilogy that invites change, and a sense of overcoming the stigmas society holds towards ethnic minorities. With an intersectional focus to show untold, underrepresented and individual journeys, Joseph combines his research with his own experiences and the cast to manifest what it means to be a human and show it in all its ugliness, beauty, contradictions and complexity.


TIM PEAKE: My Journey to Space                         Festival Theatre, 4 March
Due to popular demand, European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake will return to Chichester for an additional date as part of his first UK tour. Join him on an epic and thrilling journey to the international space station, with breath-taking photographs and never-before-seen footage from his time in space.



For Young Children and Families


JINA AND THE STEM SISTERS                  Minerva Theatre, 24 – 25 November

For ages 7+                                                    Thu at 1pm, Fri at 10.30am, 1pm, 4.45pm   

This ‘witty and enlightening’ (Musical Theatre Review) musical created and performed by HMDT Music’s all-female team, will entertain and inspire children and adults alike. Join lost budding scientist Jina on her adventure home, empowered by some of history’s super-STEM women including digital-coder Ada Lovelace, glamorous inventor Hedy Lamarr, ‘radiating’ Marie Curie and pioneering astronaut Mae Jemison.


GLISTEN        `                                               Minerva Theatre, 2 – 4 December

For ages 0 – 18 months                               Fri 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm
                                                                        Sat & Sun 11am, 1pm, 3pm                        

An interactive performance for babies aged 0 – 18 months and their grown-ups: a sparkling and shimmering immersive journey exploring the world of reflective materials wrapped up in an ambient soundscape of laid-back music. The empty space of the theatre fills with colour, sounds and surprises, creating a sensory landscape ready to explore after the performance is over.


Ages 3 – 7                                                                  11am & 2pm

An unforgettable journey to Moomin valley where everyone is welcome, nature thrives and adventures are plentiful. Magical puppetry, an ingenious pop-up book set, original music and interactive play will encourage young audiences to immerse themselves in a unique participatory story-telling. Expect snow, surprises and plenty of Moomin mischief.


THE BUBBLE SHOW                                    Minerva Theatre, 21 January
Ages 3 – 12                                                    11.30am & 2pm

An interactive and unique blend of magic, storytelling, and bubble art with bouncy bubbles, smoke bubbles, square bubbles, and even fire bubbles! An award-winning bubble extravaganza from actor, storyteller, and Guinness World Record holder, The Highland Joker.


COMEDY CLUB 4 KIDS                                Minerva Theatre, 25 February
Ages 6+                                                          1pm

Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups, sketch acts and cabaret stars from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children and their families… but without the rude bits! It’s just like a normal comedy club, but it’s on in the daytime, kids are allowed in, and thus there is a higher than usual chance of the entire audience claiming to be called Bob.



Community events


CHILDREN’S CONCERT                              Festival Theatre, 18 January
Southern Pro Musica returns with a perfect introduction to live music played by a full professional orchestra. This hour-long concert features musical classics such as a colourful Rossini Overture, Tchaikovsky ballet music and much more, including audience participation compered by the brilliant musical magician Neil Henry and conducted by Jonathan Willcocks.


University of Chichester DOUBLE BILL    Minerva Theatre, 9 – 11 February

Students from the University of Chichester present a double-bill. The Theory of Relativity is a joyous, moving and unconventional look at our surprisingly interconnected lives, presented through a collection of songs, scenes and monologues. In Moby Dick! The Musical, the resourceful girls of St. Godley’s School come up with a plan to keep the school afloat by staging a fundraiser, featuring their headmistress in the coveted role of Captain Ahab. This cult hit is a giant, over-the-top retelling of the classic novel.


DAVID NOTT IN CONVERSATION              Minerva Theatre, 27 January

Chichester Marks Holocaust Memorial Day with David Nott in conversation with Kate Mosse. For nearly 30 years David, a surgeon with the NHS, has volunteered in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones, from Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Ukraine. Driven both by compassion and passion, the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world.


OVATION ROCK SHOW                               Minerva Theatre, 3 & 4 March
Talented young musicians return to the Minerva Theatre for the Ovation Rock Show, two evenings of live music featuring children and young people (ages 8 – 18) from local schools, Chichester Music Academy and Ovation Music.



Minerva Theatre, 26 March

The most outstanding performers from the 2023 Chichester Festival for Music, Dance & Speech, chosen from across fifteen sections including dance, musical theatre, piano, strings, voice and many more. Special prizes will be awarded to exceptional performers from each section.



Off-Stage Events

Throughout the Winter season, a multitude of activities, workshops, talks and crafts are on offer.


October Half Term Hangouts for refugees and asylums seekers offer a creative space to make new friends; there are Holiday Crafts from Creation Station for children and families in both October and February half terms, and a Lightning Bugs Dance Workshop. The two day Festivall celebrating the creativity and talent of learning disabled and neurodivergent people is back in-person for the first time since 2019, and the NT Connections Festival also returns.


The cast of SIX join a special Fizz & Feminism discussion, and CFT Lates continue with cabaret and comedy. School workshops are available to accompany Jina and the STEM Sisters. A national Youth Conference: Empowering Youth Voice Through Culture, with members of CFT’s Youth Advisory Board and students from the University of Chichester, will focus on three key topics – mental health and wellbeing, queer inclusion and anti-racism. We’re welcoming young people, teachers, stakeholders, facilitators who work with the next generation, and anyone looking to be inspired by tomorrow’s leaders, today.


Pop-up Play Cafés and Family Fun before selected Minerva Theatre family performances will provide free crafts, colouring in and a reading zone for ages 0 – 5.


The Directory Group covers the following areas within Hampshire and West Sussex: Petersfield, Clanfield, Hornden, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Denmead, Purbrook, Widley, Farlington, Cosham, Drayton, Havant, Rowlands Castle, Hayling Island, Emsworth, Southbourne, Westbourne and Bosham.