History:Studio Theatre Idea

Amelia Mlynowska has researched the development of the Festival Theatre's temporary performance space known as 'The CFT Tent' into the Minerva Theatre.
1987 Plans for Minerva Box 29 H29.8cm  W21 cm _001-2
1987 Plans for the Minerva in Box 29 from the CFT archive at WSRO (H29.8xW21cm) – click image for full size

During six successful years of The Tent, Chichester Festival Theatre realised that there was a definite need for a permanent studio theatre on the Oaklands Park site. The Theatre wanted The Tent’s experimental and varied summer seasons to be continued in a permanent venue.

It was not the first time that a studio theatre had been considered alongside the main Festival Theatre stage. When Sir Laurence Olivier was Artistic Director at the Festival Theatre he mentioned that the Theatre would benefit from having a studio theatre. However, the main priority for Leslie Evershed-Martin, who founded the Theatre, and Sir Laurence Olivier, was to ensure that the main stage was funded, self-sufficient and would survive the years. Now it was the 1980s and the Festival Theatre was fully established the possibility of building a studio theatre could seriously be looked into.

It was decided that the new studio theatre should have a stage which would be twice the size of The Tent’s. The Tent and then the Minerva Theatre Artistic Director, Sam Mendes, hoped that the new studio theatre would have the same intimacy as the audience felt in The Tent.[1]

Amelia Mlynowska is one of our Young Playwrights and an alumni of the Youth Theatre

[1] ‘Plays International’ Sept 1988, Box 47