Chichester 2016 Season Toplines "Downton Abbey" Star and Half a Sixpence

News   Chichester 2016 Season Toplines "Downton Abbey" Star and Half a Sixpence
 
Hugh Bonneville, best known nowadays for playing Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, in TV's "Downton Abbey," is to return to the stage to star in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People at Chichester Festival Theatre as part of the East Sussex theatre's annual summer season. The season will also include Joseph Fiennes starring as Lawrence of Arabia in Terence Rattigan's Ross, and a newly revised production of the 1960s British musical Half a Sixpence, co-created with Cameron Mackintosh.

The productions are part of the final season reflecting the collaboration between Artistic Director Jonathan Church and Executive Director Alan Finch before each departs to assume roles at Sydney Theatre Company and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd respectively.


 The season will also feature a second musical, the world premiere of Travels with My Aunt, based on the novel by Graham Greene and reuniting the team behind Betty Blue Eyes, composer/lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and book writers Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman. Also on tap: two brand-new plays, a revival of the National Theatre's production of James Graham's This House (again helmed by Jeremy Heron), and the RSC double bill of Love's Labour's Lost and Much Ado About Nothing.



In a press statement, Church said, "If our final season has one theme it is the always urgent question of power: who has it, and who wants it. Whether the social dramas of Ibsen and Galsworthy or the dark comedy of Alistair Beaton’s new play Fracked!, the pernicious effects of war in Mark Hayhurst's new drama First Light and Rattigan's classic Ross or the political upheavals of This House, these plays explore a century of power shifts and struggles. The lighter side of the search for fulfilment is explored in our two joyous musicals, Travels with My Aunt and Half A Sixpence.


 In the main house Festival Theatre, Ibsen's An Enemy of the People will begin performances April 22 prior to an official opening May 4, for a run through May 21. Howard Davies will direct Hugh Bonneville as Dr Stockmann, who has made a shocking scientific discovery about the standards of sanitation at the popular local baths, which he insists must close immediately to rid them of pollution. But what about the impact on tourism and commerce, and the town's reputation?



Bonneville has previously appeared at Chichester in The Handyman; his other stage credits include work at the National, RSC and Donmar Warehouse. The production will be designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Dominic Muldowney and sound by Mike Walker. 

Terence Rattigan's Ross will follow it in the Festival Theatre, beginning performances June 3 prior to an official opening June 9, for a run through June 25. Adrian Noble will direct Joseph Fiennes in the title role of Aircraftsman Ross, who would earn an enduring and romantic nom de guerre, Lawrence of Arabia, who masterminded the military victory of the 1916 Arab Revolt against the Turks. Fiennes has previously appeared at Chichester starring in 2009 in the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac. Other stage credits include work at the National and RSC.

The production will be designed by William Dudley, with lighting by Paul Pyant, music by Mia Soteriou and sound by Paul Groothuis.



Half a Sixpence will begin performances July 14 prior to an official opening July 26, for a run through September 3, in the Festival Theatre. Based on the H.G.Wells novel "Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul" and the original musical by Beverley Cross and David Heneker, it has a new book by Julian Fellowes and new music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and is newly co-created by Cameron Mackintosh, reuniting the team behind the Mackintsoh/Disney Mary Poppins. The score is inspired by and features several of composer David Honker's songs from the original production, including "Flash Bang Wallop," "Money To Burn" and "Half A Sixpence."

The cast will be led by Bryan Dick as Arthur Kipps, who has previously appeared at Chichester in Amadeus,and whose TV credits include "Eric and Ernie," "Wolf Hall" and "Capital." It will be directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with choreography by Andrew Wright, designs by Paul Brown, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and orchestrations by William David Brohn.



The RSC production of Love's Labour's Lost and Much Ado About Nothing will begin performances at the Festival Theatre Sept. 24 prior to an official opening Oct. 6, for a run through Oct. 29. Christopher Luscombe will direct a 22-strong ensemble company performs in both plays that includes Edward Bennett as Berowne and Benedick. The productions are designed by Simon Higlett with lighting by Oliver Fenwick, music by Nigel Hess, sound by Jeremy Dunn and choreography by Jenny Arnold.



The season in the Minerva studio will open with Travels with My Aunt, a new musical based on the novel by Graham Greene. Let will begin performances April 18 prior to an official opening April 26, for a run through June 4. Christopher Luscombe also directs this show, featuring book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.



The cast will be led by Patricia Hodge as Aunt Augusta and Steven Pacey as Henry, and also include Stephanie Bron, Jack Chissick, Michael Duke, Nicholas Duncan, Sarah Earnshaw, Rachel Grundy, Hugh Maynard, Abiola Ogunbiyi, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Sebastien Torkia and Jack Wilcox. The production will be designed by Colin Falconer with choreography by Ewan Jones, orchestrations by Nicholas Skilbeck, musical direction by Mark Aspinall, lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Paul Groothuis.



Mark Hayhurst's new play First Light will follow in the Minerva, beginning performances June 10 prior to an official opening June 16, for a run through July 2. Jonathan Munby will direct the play which exposes the impact of the First World War on soldiers and their families. It will be designed by Paul Wills, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Alex Baranowski, sound by Fergus O’Hare and movement by Danny McGrath.



Alistair Beaton's Fracked! Or: Please don't use the F-Word will begin performances in the Minerva July 8 prior to an official opening July 15, for a run through August 6. It is described in press materials as a black comedy that takes a timely look at the conflicted core of planetary energy and earthly power. The cast includes James Bolam and Anne Reid. The production will be designed by James Cotterill, with lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Ian Dickinson.



John Galsworthy's Strife begins performances Aug. 12 prior to an official opening Aug. 18 for a run through Sept. 10 in the Minerva. Bertie Carvel, Tony nominee for Matilda, makes his directorial debut with this rarely performed play that was voted one of the National Theatre's 100 most influential plays of the 20th century. The cast includes veteran stage and screen actor Julian Glover, currently to be seen in TV's "Game of Thrones" and last seen on the London stage in The Scottsboro Boys. The production will be designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Rick Fisher.



James Graham's This House will begin performances Sept. 23 prior to an official opening Sept. 29 for a run through Oct. 29 in the Minerva. This National Theatre production, where it was first staged in 2012, will be presented in association with Chichester Festival Theatre and Headlong. Set in the Houses of Parliament in 1974 in the wake of a hung parliament being elected, it revolves around the practical realities of those behind the scenes: the whips who roll up their sleeves and on occasion bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs. The original creative team will be reunited, including design by Rae Smith, lighting design by Paule Constable, choreography by Scott Ambler, music by Stephen Warbeck and sound design by Ian Dickinson.

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 Priority booking for Chichester Festival Theatre members opens Feb. 22, with public booking from March 2 (online) and March 7 (phone and in person). To book tickets, contact the box office on 01243 781312 or visit cft.org.uk

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