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Theatre | Half A Sixpence leads way as CFT is in running for prestigious theatre awards

Chichester Festival Theatre has received five nominations in this year’s UK Theatre Awards, recognising outstanding achievement across production, acting and design.


Festival 2016 is the final season under the leadership of artistic director Jonathan Church and executive director Alan Finch. Half A Sixpence, this summer’s smash-hit co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, is nominated as Best Musical Production. Charlie Stemp, widely regarded as a star in the making, receives a nomination for Best Performance in a Musical for his leading role as Arthur Kipps.


The success of Half A Sixpence sees it transfer to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre from 29 October to February 11, 2017. The entire Chichester cast of the musical will reprise their roles, including Devon-Elise Johnson, Ian Bartholomew and Emma Williams.


News of the transfer came as Church claimed the Chichester production had become the venue’s fastest-selling ever. Though it is a new version, the musical retains a number of composer David Heneker’s songs from the original.


It is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, and features choreography by Andrew Wright, design by Paul Brown, lighting by Paule Constable and sound by Mick Potter. Meanwhile, two young actors from Chichester’s hugely acclaimed Young Checkhov trilogy in Festival 2015, now playing at the National Theatre, are recognised for their roles.


James McArdle’s roles in Platonov and Ivanov are nominated for Best Performance in a Play; Olivia Vinall garners a nomination for Best Supporting Performance in The Seagull. Robert Jones’s stunning stage set for John Galsworthy’s play Strife, which recently ended its run in the Minerva, is nominated for Best Design.


Two Sheffield Theatre musicals directed by Daniel Evans, the incoming Artistic Director of CFT, Showboat and Flowers for Mrs Harris, also figure strongly in the nominations; while The Herbal Bed, produced for English Touring Theatre by Chichester’s incoming executive director Rachel Tackley, is nominated as Best Touring Production.


The UK Theatre Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday 9 October at London’s Guildhall, hosted by Lesley Manville.

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