Chichester 2014 opens with Hugh Whitemore’s Stevie


Chichester’s Festival 2014 season opens with a major revival of Hugh Whitemore’s award-winning glimpse into the unconventional life of celebrated English poet and novelist Stevie Smith.

Nervous and droll, Stevie spends her days as a private secretary at the Newnes Publishing Company and her evenings in the London suburbs eating Battenburg cake and Ginger Nuts with her beloved aunt.

All the time she is writing the piercing poetry and prose that will make her famous. In between there are diverting visits from a series of men and tussles with literary celebrity.

All the while there is her greatest, often darkly comic struggle to keep waving when she feels like drowning.

Zoë Wanamaker plays the title role. She last appeared at Chichester in Electra (1997) winning an Olivier Award and Tony Award nomination following its transfer to the West End and Broadway.

Lynda Baron plays Aunt. She’s best known on TV in the Ronnie Barker sitcom Open All Hours but among her West End appearances credits When We Are Married, Rookery Nook and In Celebration.

Chris Larkin plays Man. He recently appeared in the West End and touring productions of Yes, Prime Minister as well as His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, The Whisky Taster and Noises Off.

Stevie Smith wrote nine volumes of poetry. The first was titled A Good Time Was Had By All. Her most famous poem is Not Waving but Drowning. She also wrote three novels, Novel on Yellow Paper, Over the Frontier and The Holiday.

Stevie is at the Minerva Theatre from April 24 – May 24.

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