CFT forced to cancel spring season before even announcing it

In a bitter blow, Chichester Festival Theatre has endured a new low – forced to cancel its spring season before it had even managed to announce it.

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 8:20 am
Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo by Tobias Key
Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo by Tobias Key

January 7 was to have been the unveiling of plays and performances for February and March to take us through into the 2021 summer season.

Instead, with Sussex going into tier four on Boxing Day and with the extension of tier four elsewhere just before the New Year, Chichester Festival Theatre took the unprecedented step of pulling the spring season before even having the chance to go public with it. And then the third national lockdown came.

CFT artistic director Daniel Evans said: “It is at times quite bewildering and at times deeply frustrating.”

Daniel is hoping that Benefactors by Michael Frayn, which had already been announced for the spring (February 5-27) might now be switched to the autumn: “It has now been taken out of our hands. We were leapfrogged from tier two to tier four even though we still had relatively low Covid numbers in the area. And the thing is that we don’t know when we are coming out of tier four which makes it impossible to plan anything.”

The hope is to rescue some elements of the spring season by switching one-night events online and live-streaming them from an empty theatre – the proposed Valentine’s Day concert, for example: “We have come so far, and hope has certainly carried us. But I have to say that the last few days have been my lowest point… cancelling a season before it has even been announced. It is progress in that at least we hadn’t put the tickets on sale. You could say that we should have seen this coming. But we were in a relatively low Covid area, even though numbers were growing. But the most important thing now is we play our part in making this virus go away.”