Daniel Evans has announced his first season as Artistic Director at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Evans’ highly anticipated season embraces classic and contemporary plays and musicals with headline actors including Sharon D. Clarke, Marcia Gay Harden, Brian J Smith, Richard Wilson and Ian McKellen.

Evans said he was “thrilled to announce his first season” and that it  has ” been a joy to put together a variety of work created by some of the most exciting artists in the country”.  He went on to say how delighted he was to welcome new artists such as Marcia Gay Harden Sharon D. Clarke and Brian J Smith and Edna O’Brien and the many who are returning   -among them Ian McKellen, Richard Wilson, Richard Eyre, and Jonathan Kent.

The major revivals include:

  • Richard Wilson in Alan Bennett’s FORTY YEARS ON, directed by Evans (21 April – 20 May)
  • Tennessee Williams’ iconic SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH starring Academy and Tony award winner Marcia Gay Harden and Brian J. Smith, directed by Jonathan Kent (2 June – 24 June)
  • Jonathan Munby directs Ian McKellen in KING LEAR
  • Githa Sowerby’s THE STEPMOTHER, directed by Richard Eyre
  • Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy THE NORMA CONQUESTS, directed by Blanche McIntyre

Michael Longhurst directs Sharon D. Clarke in the first new production of Tony Kushner & Jeanine Tesori’s musical CAROLINE, OR CHANGE  (6 May- 3 June) and Daniel Evans will direct FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (14 July – 5 August) with Omid Djalili and Tracy-Ann Oberman.

Three new plays including QUIZ by critically acclaimed playwright James Graham, directed by Evans; THE HOUSE THEY GREW UP IN (14 July – 5 August) by Deborah Bruce, directed by Jeremy; and THE COUNTRY GIRLS (9 June – 8 July) by Edna O’Brian, directed by Lisa Blair.

Chichester Youth Festival Theatre will stage Philip Pullman’s GRIMM TALES and a new adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST both directed by Dale Rooks.

The first season will run from April 2017 until November 2017 with Festival 2017 marking the beginning of a new era at Chichester Festival Theatre under the leadership of Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Rachel Tackley.