Callow, Finney and Stewart lead Shaffer retrospective at Chichester

Simon Callow

Actors Simon Callow, Albert Finney and Patrick Stewart will be leading Chichester Festival Theatre’s celebrations to mark its long association with playwright Peter Shaffer.

Shaffer’s work is a thread running through Chichester’s Festival 2014.

In addition to productions of Black Comedy and Amadeus, there will be three weekends of rehearsed readings, discussions and talks marking the major contribution of one of the country’s most important living playwrights.

Highlights will include Question Time, a discussion led by Simon Callow with contributions from Albert Finney, theatre critic Michael Billington and Black Comedy director Jamie Glover.

There is a rehearsed reading of Yonadab featuring Patrick Stewart, directed by Chichester associate Angus Jackson; Singular Shaffer, a talk by author Daniel Rosenthal tracing the journey made by Shaffer’s plays from Chichester to the National Theatre and beyond.

Also included are extracts from Lettice and Lovage, directed by Lotte Wakeham, whose credits include the RSC’s Matilda The Musical as associate director.

Shaffer’s close involvement with Chichester dates back to 1964 when The Royal Hunt of the Sun was commissioned by Laurence Olivier, the theatre’s first artistic director.

This was followed by Black Comedy which was commissioned by legendary dramaturg Kenneth Tynan.

Miss Julie and Black Comedy first premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre in 1965 starring Maggie Smith and Albert Finney. They are revived in the venue’s Minerva Theatre from this week.

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