Pressure to weather D Day storm at Chichester Festival Theatre

David Haig as Dr James Stagg in Pressure.
David Haig in rehearsal for Pressure.

Chichester Festival Theatre goes to war with the première of a powerful new drama.

It’s June 1944, the eve of the D-Day landings. A weatherman has to make a prediction that could win or lose the Second World War, and change the course of history.

Seventy years on, Pressure tells the little-known but true story of Dr James Stagg, a Scottish meteorologist summoned to the Allied Headquarters in Portsmouth to advise General Eisenhower.

It will be staged less than 20 miles away at Chichester during the 70th anniversary month of the D-Day landings.

Everything is in place for the biggest military invasion ever known in Europe. Only one crucial question remains: will the weather be right on the day?

American celebrity weatherman Colonel Krick confidently predicts sunshine, while – with equal conviction – Dr Stagg forecasts a storm.

As the world watches and waits, Eisenhower must decide which of these calculations to trust.

Pressure is a new play by actor and writer David Haig, who also features in the cast as Dr James Stagg. His plays include My Boy Jack for both stage and film.

Malcolm Sinclair plays General Dwight D ‘Ike’ Eisenhower. He last appeared at Chichester in Rattigan’s Nijinsky (2011).

Other recent credits include the West End production of Quartermaine’s Terms and The Doctors Dilemma (National Theatre).

The cast also includes Tim Beckmann, Anthony Bowers, Alister Cameron, Gilly Gilchrist, Scott Gilmour, Robert Jack and Michael Mackenzie and Laura Rogers.

Pressure is a co-production with Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, where it runs from May 1 – 24.

It comes to Chichester’s Minerva Theatre from May 31-June 28.


There will be a talk entitled Pressure: D-Day on June 6, at 6pm, hosted by novelist and broadcaster Kate Mosse, who will be joined by Andrew Charlton-Perez, associate professor of meteorology at Reading University. Tickets are free, booking essential.

There will be the chance to meet some of the Pressure company at a post-show discussion on June 12, and David Haig will be in conversation with Kate Mosse for a short post-show interview on June 16.

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