Help get the 2019 Festival of Chichester off to a fabulous, festive start!

Gareth Williams
Gareth Williams

A special seasonal treat of words, music and mince pies is heading Chichester’s way when the Festive Jazz Café takes off in the atmospheric setting of historic St John’s Chapel on Thursday, December 6.

The event is in aid of next year’s Festival of Chichester, and organisers are promising a scintillating cast of performers offering a package of seasonal delights.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said: “Headline guest is Gareth Williams, actor and singer with the Flying Pickets, who had a million-selling chart-topper with the song Only You. Gareth has appeared extensively in film, TV and stage, including roles with the English Shakespeare Company and notably as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls in the West End, alongside Barbara Windsor.

“Chichester audiences will remember Gareth for his starring role as Thomas Becket in the millennium production of T S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, staged in Chichester Cathedral. Just released for cinemas is Gareth’s latest film, Peterloo, directed by Mike Leigh to mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre.

“Gareth’s other credits include EastEnders, a one-man show, Lennon In His Own Write, South Pacific, the US tour of The Caretaker and Waiting for Godot in the West End. Gareth will be performing seasonal readings from favourite writers.

“There’s mellow jazz from the eight-piece jazz band, the much-loved Sussex based Jazz Smugglers. Expect all your favourite jazz standards from singer Maria and the band. Jazzy versions of Christmas songs and carols are also on the menu.

“Sussex poet David Swann will be reading some of his recent inspiring poetry. David’s lively performance style is always a hit with audiences.

“Performing alongside Gareth and David is Emily Rose Smith, whose credits include Goblin Market for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton festival, Canaries Sometimes Sing (London and Antibes), Dr Faustus with Sam West and Chekhov in the Festival of Chichester.”

Barry added: “We’re absolutely delighted to have the support of these fantastic performers who all have Chichester connections and have appeared in our Festival. Audiences can be sure of having a great time and getting the Christmas season underway in swinging style as well as helping support next year’s Festival. All proceeds will go towards the 2019 Festival so it’s an opportunity for people to enjoy themselves knowing they are also supporting further treats next summer.”

Festive Jazz Café, Thursday, December 6, 7.30pm, St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street, Chichester. Tickets £12 (students £10) from Novium/TIC, Tower Street, Chichester. 01243 816525 www.thenovium.org/boxoffice.

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