Arts + Entertainment

Film Star at Festival Gala

A special seasonal treat of words, music and complimentary mince pies is heading Chichester’s way when the Festive Jazz Café takes off in the atmospheric setting of historic St John’s Chapel on Thursday, 8th December. The event is in aid of next year’s Festival of Chichester and a scintillating cast of performers will take the stage with a package of seasonal delights.


Headline guest is Michael Jayston, star of film, TV and stage, whose credits include the title role of the Russian Tsar in the Oscar-winning film, Nicholas and Alexandra. Michael’s stellar career has included working alongside some of the greats of the British arts industry, including Sir Laurence Olivier in the classic film of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Other co-performers in the West End include Peggy Ashcroft in Ibsen’s Ghosts and Petula Clark in the musical The Sound of Music. His television roles in Only Fools and Horses, Eastenders and Dr Who have brought Michael to the attention of contemporary audiences.  Michael will be performing readings from Dickens, Jane Austen and other favourite writers.

There’s mellow jazz from the eight piece jazz band, the much-loved Sussex based Jazz Smugglers. Expect Gershwin, Cole Porter and all your favourite jazz standards from singer Maria and the band. Jazzy versions of Christmas carols are also on the menu.


Poet Hugh Dunkerley, who is a senior lecturer at Chichester University, will be reading some of his recent inspiring poetry.  Hugh is a prizewinner in the BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year Award and has published three poetry collections, including Hare (Cinnamon Press).

Performing alongside Michael and Hugh is Emily Rose Smith, whose credits include Goblin Market for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton festival, Canaries Sometimes Sing (London and Antibes) and Chekhov in the Festival of Chichester.


Festival Co-ordinator Barry Smith said, ‘We’re absolutely delighted to have the support of these fantastic performers who all have Chichester connections and have appeared in our Festival. Audiences can be sure of having a great time and getting the Christmas season underway in swinging style as well as helping support next year’s Festival. All proceeds will go towards the 2017 Festival so it’s an opportunity for people to enjoy themselves knowing they are also supporting further treats in the Festival next summer.’

Festive Jazz Café, Thursday Dec 8th, 7.30pm, St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street, Chichester. Tickets £12 (students £10) from Novium/TIC, Tower Street, Chichester, PO19 1QH.

01243 775888.

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