FOR THE first time, Chichester Festival Theatre is streaming a selection of its archive productions online.

First up is the musical Flowers for Mrs Harris which is available on the theatre’s website at for 30 days and will be free to watch.

Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne, artistic and executive directors respectively of Chichester Festival Theatre, said: ‘We are delighted that, thanks to the generous agreement of all the artists involved, we are able to make Flowers for Mrs Harris available for people to watch for free at home.

“Initially, this was intended to be no more than an archive recording, but we felt that the themes of kindness and compassion might bring a bit of joy to people’s lives during these very difficult conditions.”

Flowers for Mrs Harris is the story of Ada Harris, a char-lady in post-war London whose drab life of dusting and scrubbing is transformed when she glimpses a Christian Dior dress in one of her client’s wardrobes and sets her heart on going to Paris to buy one for herself.

The 2018 Chichester Festival production is directed by Daniel Evans, with a cast led by Clare Burt (who won a UK Theatre Award for her performance), Joanna Riding and Gary Wilmot.

With a book by Rachel Wagstaff and music and lyrics by Richard Taylor, Flowers for Mrs Harris captures the glowing humanity of the novella by famed author Paul Gallico on which it is based.

The production began at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield, where it won three UK Theatre Awards including Best Musical.

Clare Burt’s extensive musical theatre work includes This Is My Family at Chichester, London Road (National Theatre) and Miss Littlewood (RSC). Joanna Riding is a double Olivier Award-winner for Best Actress in a Musical, whose recent work includes the National Theatre’s Follies.

Gary Wilmot made his Chichester Festival debut in this show; his many West End credits include Dick Whittington, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Pyjama Game.

Also in the cast are Claire Machin, Louis Maskell, Mark Meadows, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Nicola Sloane, Luke Latchman and Rhona McGregor, and a company of “Dior models” largely drawn from Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

Flowers for Mrs Harris will be available to watch online until Friday May 8 at