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.

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

Chichester Festival Theatre      SUS-181106-184156008

Chichester Festival Theatre SUS-181106-184156008

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

Box office: 01243 781312 or

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?

ME AND MY GIRL, July 2 – August 25, Festival Theatre

THE MEETING, July 13 – August 11, Minerva Theatre


COPENHAGEN, August 17 – September 22, Minerva Theatre

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

COCK, September 28 – October 27, Minerva Theatre

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

THE WATSONS, November 3 – December 1, Minerva Theatre

SLEEPING BEAUTY, December 15-30, Festival Theatre