Festival of Chichester launch day!

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A special, advance taster of some of the delights promised for this summer’s Festival of Chichester will be on offer at St John’s Chapel on May 2 from 2.30pm.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said: “The plan is that people will be able to pop in while they are in the city for their weekend shopping and find out more about the festival.

“Lined up for the afternoon are performances giving an advance flavour of the main festival, which opens on June 13 and runs until July 12. Chichester Festival Youth Theatre members are giving a glimpse of some of the drama which will feature in their St John’s performance when they present Self-Help, a play devised by Greg Mosse.

“The dramatic events of World War One will be featured when two members of the number-one hit band of the 1980s, The Flying Pickets, will present extracts from Stony Broke in No Man’s Land. It’s a real tour de force of a two-hander covering some of the quirky humour of the time as well as the tragedies. Slindon resident Gareth Williams, who has starred in the West End in Guys and Dolls, heads the cast.

“In the festival, there will be music aplenty on offer from across the genres included in the festival, including rousing brass band playing from the Chichester City Band. Classical music is brilliantly represented in the festival with orchestras, chamber groups and ensembles of all descriptions including Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Hanover Band and international pianists. Some of these musicians will be on hand to give tantalising tasters of the pleasures in store.

“We hope as many people as possible will come along to find out about the 200-plus exciting events lined up for the Festival of Chichester and take away news of the Chichester arts extravaganza which celebrates the artistic life of the city. Full-colour brochures listing all the events will be available.”

The choice of venue for the taster reflects the fact St John’s will once again be offering a festival within the festival this year, including classical and world music, song, drama and dance. Full details in the programme and on www.stjohnschapelchichester.co.uk

Among the St John’s Chapel events will be guitarist Morgan Szymanski on June 30 at 7.30pm with violinist Harriet Mackenzie. Also on the programme for the festival is the Minerva Ensemble presenting Death and the Maiden on June 24 at 7.30pm.

Festival Taster: St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street, Chichester, 2.30pm onwards on Saturday May 2. Free entrance. More details on www.festivalofchichester.co.uk.

Festival tickets: www.chichestertickets.co.uk. Box office: 01243 813595. In person: Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).