Gala night at Chichester Festival Theatre

PUBLISHED: 16:24 06 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:24 06 October 2014

Jonathan Church (Artistic Dir. CFT), Twiggy and Leigh Lawson © DavidJensen 2014

Jonathan Church (Artistic Dir. CFT), Twiggy and Leigh Lawson © DavidJensen 2014

© DavidJensen 2014

Stars of stage and screen gathered in Chichester at the newly reopened Festival Theatre for a gala performance of the critically acclaimed production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus starring Rupert Everett.

Following the successful completion of the highly ambitious 21-month, £22m redevelopment RENEW project, Artistic Director Jonathan Church and Executive Director Alan Finch were joined by stars from across the industry for a Champagne reception after the show. Guests including Michael Ball, Lenny Henry, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Kathleen Turner, Simon Callow, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Stephanie Cole, Patricia Hodge, Sir Tom Stoppard, Paulette Randall, Guy Henry, Patricia Hodge, Samantha Bond, Michael Brandon, Sir Peter Shaffer, Twiggy and Leigh Lawson, William Gaunt and Peter Bowles enjoyed an afternoon in the West Sussex sunshine before exploring backstage at the restored Grade 2* listed building.

The refurbishment of the Festival Theatre has involved a careful marriage of old and new. It has conserved the iconic and architecturally significant features of the original modernist “concrete tent”. At the same time the redevelopment has incorporated essential repairs, major enhancements and a new extension, clad in distinctive Cor-Ten material, to house the new backstage facilities.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, tweeted afterwards: “the splendidly expanded theatre opens with Amadeus. Director Jonathan Church, Rupert Everett (Salieri) and Joshua McGuire (Mozart) totally nail it."

Photos of the guests at the Gala can be downloaded at

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