Festival of Chichester programme unveiled

The Festival of Chichester is promising a clean sweep of Chichester talents as it unveils today the programme for its four-week summer arts and community extravaganza.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “We are delighted with the programme which has come together, a fantastic celebration of this beautiful city we are so proud to live and work in.”

“We really have got hundreds of events running from June 13 to July 12, catering for the widest possible range of tastes, and the great thing is that once again our festival is so much about the city of Chichester.

“We have got some big names coming in, but really the biggest name of all as far as we are concerned is Chichester itself. All the leading arts and community groups are involved in what is going to be a brilliant month. This will be our third Festival of Chichester and definitely our best yet.”

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said: “We have a fantastic line-up of exciting events on offer. I’m particularly delighted with the star quality of this year’s festival. Just reeling off some of the names gives a picture of the delights in store.

“We’re proud to feature international violinist Jack Liebeck with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, folk singer and ace guitarist Martin Simpson, one of the country’s most distinguished poets Jo Shapcott, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and novelist William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator), the MOBO award-winning jazz pianist, Chichester’s own Zoe Rahman and flying in from Russia, the brilliant pianist Victor Ryabchikov.

“Alongside the stars we have the cream of local talent. There will be inspirational art exhibitions at the Pallant and Oxmarket galleries and in studios all over the city. We have the Cathedral Choir with the Hanover Band, the Chichester Singers, rock gigs with the music of George Harrison and Joni Mitchell, Pergola Open Air Theatre – far too many events to mention. It’s shaping up to be a great festival with more than 200 events in a month-long celebration of the arts throughout the city and beyond.”

Phil added: “We have got a small but dedicated committee which meets monthly to put the festival together, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. These are people who get things done, and the festival is the perfect expression of all the good will out there.

“We have been incredibly lucky to work very closely with Chichester City Council right from the very start, and once again they have made a very generous contribution to the cost of our publicity. I am delighted that this year we have also received a substantial contribution from Chichester District Council for which we are extremely grateful.

“We also offer huge thanks to the Chichester Observer. Without the Observer, this festival simply could not happen. We cannot thank them enough. It’s a very enlightened newspaper that plays such a positive role in its community.”

BOOK YOUR TICKETS: Online: www.chichestertickets.co.uk. Box office: 01243 813595. In person: Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).

This year’s classical music section is strong and includes:

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Summer Serenade, Chichester Cathedral (Saturday, June 13, 7.30pm), Reiko Fujisawa – piano recital, University Of Chichester (Sunday, June 14, 5pm), The Symphonic Brass Of London, St Paul’s Church (Friday, June 19, 7.30pm), Pavlos Carvalho Plays Bach, St John’s Chapel (Friday, June 19, 7.30pm), Pallant Festival Concert – Victor Ryabchikov Pallant House Gallery (Saturday, June 20, 12 noon), The Chichester Singers, Chichester Cathedral (Saturday, June 20, 7.30pm), Bach And Handel At Bosham, The Consort Of Twelve, Holy Trinity Church, Bosham (Sunday, June 21, 6pm), Choro! traditional music from Brazil, The Chorões, St John’s Chapel (Monday, June 22, 1pm),

Minerva Ensemble and David Le Page (violin), St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street (Wednesday, June 24, 7.30pm), Glorious Chamber Music At Lunch Time, The Hanover Band Chamber Ensemble, St John’s Chapel (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 25, 26, 27, 1pm), and The City Wall Productions Art Song Competition, Assembly Room, Chichester (Saturday, June 27, 7pm).

Other music includes: Fowokan, Chichester Inn (Saturday, June 13, 8pm), Beautiful Ghosts and Bizarre Tales, Beck Sian and Jonathan Kershaw, Chichester Inn (Thursday, June 18, 8pm), Ed Goodale, Oxmarket Centre Of Arts (Saturday, June 20, 7.30pm), Ruby & The Revelators, Chichester Inn (Friday, June 26, 8pm), The Shane Allessio Jazz Trio, Amici Concerts, St Pancras Church (Thursday, July 2, 7.30pm), and Martin Simpson, The Council House, North Street. (Thursday, July 2, 7.30pm).

Also coming up are:

George Harrison tribute band All Things Must Pass, The Pallant Suite (Wednesday, June 17, 7.30pm), Never The Bride, Chichester Inn (Saturday, June 27, 8pm) and Chichester singer-songwriter Anna Foye and guests, Music Block Recital Hall (Friday, July 3, 6.30-7.30pm).

This year’s spoken word section includes:

The Monologue From The Bible To Alan Bennett performed by David Bathurst and friends (Friday, June 12, 7.30pm and Saturday, June 13, 7.30pm), William Nicholson, Chichester Cathedral (Monday, June 15, 6.30pm), The Folklore of Sussex – Professor Jacqueline Simpson (Tuesday, June 16, 5.15pm), Saving the City: the early years of the Chichester Society (Thursday, June 18, 2.30pm), Simon Brett (Thursday, June 18, 7.30pm), Behind the Scenes at Chichester Festival Theatre (Thursday, June 18, 6pm), Book Barney featuring Kate Mosse (Friday, June 19, 7.30pm), Successful Self-Publishing – The Chindi Way (Tuesday, June 23, 7.30pm), a brief history of Chichester (Thursday, June 25, 12.45pm-1.30pm), children’s author Jane Hardstaff (Thursday, June 25, 4pm), Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former British Ambassador to the United Nations in New York (Friday, June 26, 7pm) and Chichester crime writer Peter Lovesey (Monday, June 29, 7.30pm).

A busy theatre programme includes:

Henry Fielding Joseph Andrews Chichester Players, New Park Centre (Wednesday, June 17-Saturday, June 20, 7.30pm), Self-Help, a new play by Greg Mosse, Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, St John’s Chapel (Saturday, June 20, 2pm; Sunday, June 21, 2pm; Wednesday, June 24, 2pm), Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper (At Last – The True Story!), Isosceles Theatre Company, St John’s Chapel (Sunday, June 21, 4pm and 7.30pm; Monday, June 22, 7.30pm), Jake & The Circle Of Death, Funtington Players with Chichester Community Theatre, St John’s Chapel (Thursday, June 25, 7pm); The Pergola Open Air Theatre, New Theatre Productions, West Dean Gardens, a double bill of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten, based on the novels by E F Benson, directed by John Hyatt, and Oliver Goldsmith’s classic She Stoops To Conquer, directed by Richard Kinder (Saturday, June 27- Friday, July 10).