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Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat team up as part of starry Chichester season

Mark Gatiss in rehearsal for The Madness of George III. Photo: Nottingham Playhouse Mark Gatiss in rehearsal for The Madness of George III. Photo: Nottingham Playhouse
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Novelist Kate Mosse and Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat are to make their full-length playwriting debuts at Chichester Festival Theatre, as part of a season that achieves a 50:50 gender split in terms of writers and a return to rep.

The new season features five world premieres, as well as two musicals – South Pacific and Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins – and includes work helmed by seven female directors, including Polly Findlay, compared with five men. Male directors in the programme of work include Mark Gatiss, who makes his stage directorial debut.

Actors who appear in the season include Henry Goodman, Richard Coyle, Gina Beck, Rob Houchen, Julian Ovenden, Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith.

Mosse is adapting her own novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter, for the Festival Theatre, directed by Jonathan Munby. It will run in repertoire, alongside Assassins, directed by Findlay. This marks the first time rep has been at the theatre since 2012.

Moffat has penned a play called The Unfriend for the season, which will be directed by Gatiss, and star Abbington, Barber and Shearsmith. This opens in July, in the Minerva Theatre.

Other shows in the programme include The Long Song, a new adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel by Suhayla El-Bushra that will be directed by Charlotte Gwinner. It stars Cherrelle Skeete.

The world premiere of The Narcissist, by Christopher Shinn and directed by Ola Ince, also features in the season, alongside a new adaptation of Pinocchio, by Anna Ledwich.

Meanwhile, there are revivals of plays including Brecht’s Life of Galileo, starring Henry Goodman and directed by Jonathan Church, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, directed by Simon Evans and starring Coyle and Lisa Dillon.

South Pacific, directed by artistic director Daniel Evans, will star Beck, Ovenden and Houchen.

The season at a glance:

Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, translated by David Edgar
Directed by Jonathan Church in the Festival Theatre
April 24 to May 16, with a press night on April 29

The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Simon Evans in the Minerva Theatre
May 7 to June 6, with press night on May 13

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Jay Presson Allen
Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh in the Festival Theatre
May 29 to June 20, with a press night on June 3

The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner
Directed by Nicole Charles in the Minerva Theatre
June 12 to July 4, with a press night on June 19

South Pacific by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by Daniel Evans in the Festival Theatre
July 6 to August 29, with press night on July 14

The Unfriend by Steven Moffat
Directed by Mark Gatiss in the Minerva Theatre
July 17 to August 22, with a press night on July 22

The Long Song by Suhayla El-Bushra
Directed by Charlotte Gwinner in the Minerva Theatre
August 28 to September 26, with press night on September 3

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse
Directed by Jonathan Munby in the Festival Theatre
September 12 to October 30 with a press night on September 18

Assassins by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman
Directed by Polly Findlay in the Festival Theatre
September 29 to October 31, with press night on October 5

The Narcissist by Christopher Shinn
Directed by Ola Ince in the Minerva Theatre
October 2 to 24, with press night on October 8

Crave by Sarah Kane
Directed by Tinuke Craig, in the Spiegeltent
October 16 to 31, with a press night on October 22

Pinocchio by Anna Ledwich
Directed by Dale Rooks in the Festival Theatre
December 12 to 31, with a press night on December 16

Chichester artistic director Daniel Evans: Good casting directors are worth their weight in gold

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