University’s first live musical since Covid began opens to audiences

  • World-premiere of Marriage Á La Mode hosted in Bognor Regis
  • Musical Theatre students’ first performance to live audiences in 14 months
  • Tickets still available for Thursday 24, Friday 25, and Saturday 26 June


THE University of Chichester’s first live musical performance since the start of lockdown last year is opening to audiences in two weeks’ time.

Following a 14-month postponement, its Musical Theatre Performance company are returning with the world-premiere of Marriage Á La Mode. The show opens to live audiences at the University’s Bognor Regis campus in its Covid-safe Assembly Theatre.

Tickets cost £8 each, or £5 for concessions and students, and can be purchased from

The comic – yet cautionary – tale set to a soaring score questions whether we should marry for money or love, said producer Andrew Wright who leads the Musical Theatre Performance course.

“Posh but poor Percy and rich but common Cecilia are forced to wed by their parents, who soon wind up dead,” he added. “Gin-soaked, syphilis-riddled 18th century London meets ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ in Marriage Á La Mode.”

The performance, inspired by the paintings of William Hogarth, is the fourth in the company’s annual new musical summer project, which previously premiered Gulliver’s Travels, Notre Dame, and The Stationmaster before the pandemic.


Final-year student Carl Gamage, who plays the central role of Percy, said of the experience: “I have had such an incredible time on the Musical Theatre Performance degree at Chichester and have been so very lucky with the production opportunities that have been offered to me.

“I am over the moon to be playing the role of Percy, and I just hope I can do it justice. I am so excited that we are able to perform this show to a live audience. What a way to end my three years at Chichester.”

Marriage Á La Mode is directed by Emma Kilbey, with musical direction from Daniel Jarvis, choreography by Tosh Wanogho-Maud, and design by Francine Huin-Wah.

Librettist Victoria Saxton said: “We could all do with a laugh at the moment. Hogarth’s darkly satirical humour seems more relevant than ever, so come and join us for a raucous, searing, gin-soaked event.

With a musical, you never quite know what you’ve written until you see it on its feet – so this is such an invaluable experience for a new piece. The students have been throwing themselves, wholeheartedly, into the process under the brilliant creative leadership of our director.”


Book tickets now

Marriage Á La Mode opens in the Assembly Theatre, on the University of Chichester’s Bognor Regis Campus, PO21 1HR, on June 24 and 25 at 7:30pm – with a further two shows on June 26 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.

The performance will adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines and audience members will be asked to sign-in to the NHS Test and Trace system.

Tickets are available from

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