Blog: Collecting memories of CFT

Memory Collection taking place at the Barnum Matinee
Memory Collection taking place at Barnum Matinee

Memory Collection events have now been conducted with Barnum Audiences and most recently at Chichester Library where Youth Theatre members conducted short interviews with members of the public about their memories of the Theatre. These events have yielded some fascinating insights, stories and memories about time spent at the Theatre, with many people talking to us who have been coming back for many years, some since the Theatre’s foundation.

Pass It On hopes to hold several more of these events and in doing so collect further memories from many different people who have had some connection with the Theatre over the decades, not only past directors, actors or staff, but people who came to see a show or those who remember the impact the Theatre has had on Chichester and the surrounding area over its history.

Amongst these first memories collected: someone had camped outside the Festival Theatre for tickets to the first season shows in 1962, another recalled how her son had starred in several youth theatre plays before going into acting in London and one lady had many fond memories of the fun had in the Theatre Tent before the Minerva was built – including many raucous parties!

Although temporarily empty, over the 50 years of its life, Chichester Festival Theatre has seen hundreds of productions, thousands of staff and actors and hundreds of thousands of theatre goers pass through its doors. Each person will have had their own unique experience and taken their own unique memories away with them and these accounts are hugely important in really understanding the history and stories behind the Theatre.

Certainly personal anecdotes and recollections can really bring a space to life and what strikes me most about what we’ve heard so far is the incredible impact the Theatre has had on many people’s lives. The memory collection events are a great way to honour this impact and it is fantastic to have a young generation of Youth Theatre members talking to those who have been connected to the Theatre for many years and comparing experiences then and now.

Keep checking this website for future memory collection events.