Chichester Observer

What to expect at this year’s Festival of Chichester

- Phil Hewitt Group Arts Editor ents@chiobserve­

As the country bounces back from pandemic restrictio­ns, the Festival of Chichester returns with a bang.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said: “The message we’re getting is that people are desperate to get back to enjoying live events once more. We’re delighted to be able to bring to the city a month long programme of exciting events – live, virtual and outdoors – running from June 12 to July 11. It’s been a rollercoas­ter ride as we’ve put together a really special programme to welcome audiences back to the joys of sharing the pleasure of great performanc­es in venues across our historic city.

“There will be a fantastic choice of entertainm­ent, ranging from classical concerts to jazz gigs to book talks with famous authors, comedy, theatre, exhibition­s, live-streaming shows, walks and tours and much more, with famous names such as Dame Penelope Keith, Kate Mosse and Loyd Grossman.

“The line-up includes top notch classical concerts with festival favourites Ensemble Reza playing Tchaikovsk­y’s Souvenir de Florence, the Castalian Quartet with Daniel Lebhardt performing Brahms’ Piano Quintet and the Bach Players with the joyous Brandenbur­g Concerto No 5, all at the Assembly Room. At the Cathedral we have internatio­nal pianists Youngchoon Park performing a Schubert Sonata and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and rising Russian star Elena Toponogova delighting with a programme of Russian Romantic music. Chichester classical guitarist Linda Kelsall-barnett returns with another entertaini­ng selection of musical gems.

““Other music includes the toe-tapping Cuban band, the Latin Bridge, in an open-air gig with picnics at Halnaker, blues guitarist Rob Johnson and the engaging Charlotte Glasson Jazz Trio, with legendary guitarist

Chris Spedding, at the Poetry & Jazz Café, which also features Romani poet Raine Geoghegan.

“Spoken word and theatre events include the Rude Mechanical Theatre Company performing an uplifting take on the early life of Charlie Chaplin, staged outdoors with picnics at Halnaker park, a virtual Summer Feel Good Show from CAOS, the Chicheste-based musical group, book launches from Chichester’s Kate Mosse and also Loyd Grossman, TV celebrity from Master Chef and many other programmes, discussing his new book on art in Rome. One of the undoubted highlights will be Poetry and Music with Olivier and BAFTA award winner Dame Penelope Keith, plus lauded Scottish poet Vicki Feaver, at the Cathedral. Fondly remembered for her TV sitcoms, The Good Life and To the Manor Born,

Dame Penelope is well-known to city audiences through her performanc­es at the Festival Theatre.

“There will lots of stimulatin­g exhibition­s including Chichester Art Society’s Oxmarket show, an enticing Open Studios art trail and Catherine Barnes’ popular Pictures in the Porch.

“And of course lots of quirky, unexpected events such as a wine tasting and a bumblebee identifica­tion workshop! Following on from last year’s virtual festival, there’ll be plenty to enjoy online too, including an exciting new Festival Free Fringe livestream­ing from the Vicars Hall and a rerun of the South Downs Poetry Festival’s acclaimed Youtube film celebratin­g the bicentenar­y of John Keats

“There’s so much to enjoy – and what a delight it will be to feel again that buzz of excitement as a live performanc­e starts.”

The virtual box office launch will be from 1830 to 1900 on Friday, May 7. This event will be held on Zoom. Anyone wishing to attend should contact support@ festivalof­

The Festival is delighted to have the continuing support of its distinguis­hed Festival Patron, Dame Patricia Routledge.


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Charlotte Glasson

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