Blog: “A White Concrete Mushroom”

Miracle Theatre, Leslie Evershed Martin, Chichester Festival Theatre, Book
‘The Miracle Theatre’
Available for purchase from Chichester Festival Theatre (click on picture to follow link)

Writing in 1986, Leslie Evershed-Martin reflected on the Festival Theatre Building; the strengths and weaknesses of its design and the reactions and perceptions people held about it. The below extract comes from his book The Miracle Theatre (1986:p33).

‘Over the years there have been many amusing descriptions applied to the look of the building. Correspondents have vied with one another in their inventiveness and the following are some of the examples:-

– “An enormous home plate in a tight little ball pitch.”

– “A merry-go-round outside and a circus inside.”

– “The roof is like an inverted radio telescope.”


– “A concrete lozenge in a rolling Sussex field.”

– “Erupting starkly like a brown and white concrete mushroom shaped atom cloud      from the tree lined Oaklands park.” (Sally K Marks)

– “A disquieting Theatre because the soaring roof hangs too low above the saucer of the auditorium. It is like attending festivities inside an oyster.” (B. Gasgoine)

– “This Theatre sees the start of a bloodless revolution in British Theatre. The theatre at Chichester is revolutionary. It is mushroom-shaped, audiences sit in the top of the mushroom while below in the stalk are dressing rooms, offices and other facilities. (British Travel Association July 1962)’

What does the Festival Theatre remind you of? Send your ideas in to [email protected]