Memory: Chichester Festival Theatre

Postcard Exterior CFT - Photographer unknown - Date unknown - Box 71 CFT WSRO - H9x W14cmI came to this theatre for the first time in 1964 when I was 20. I quite fell in love with it and the Chichester area and have visited many times for all types of productions. Certainly my favourite theatre outside London.

From: Alice Child

Memory: Patrick Garland (Artistic Director 1981-84 & 1991-94)

1994 Patrick Garland photograph Box180 H16.4cm W24.5cm_001

A much loved director, constantly fighting with the Arts Council, and first to introduce musicals The Mitford Girls and Underneath the Arches to Chichester, both transferred to the West End. He also encouraged the ‘fringe’ performances, playing at the New Park, The Dolphin and Anchor Hotel and the Pollock’s little theatre in Bosham. So successful were these, that the first ‘tent’ was erected to house them, later giving birth to the hugely popular ‘Minerva’ theatre.

From: Paula Tinker

Memory: Paul Rogerson (Theatre Manager)

Photograph exterior - Vanessa Lees, Paul Rogerson - Photographer Tim Andrews - 1973 - T Andrews collection

The longest ever serving, yes serving, Managing Director who started as Theatre Manager and Concert and Events Organizer and later also took over as Licensee, and managed to keep the theatre going throughout the winter seasons for many years thanks to his connections with the London Music Worlds. Without his input at that time, mid-sixties, the theatre would have been financially unsustainable and an early demise was being predicted. He was the first to bring the Moscow City Ballet, Chris Barber, Rostropovich, David Oistrach, Jaques Loussier and the London Philharmonic Orchestra to Chichester, among many other world class acts. And he kept in touch with them; and that also applies to the many actors and playwrights he cared for personally. But then, Paul knew and cared for every one involved in the theatre, even to the occasional ice cream seller, knew their personal histories, their worries and those of their families.

From: Anon

Other comments: Paul held the whole belly (under belly?) of the theatre together, and when he left after 36 years, everybody was in tears, and an era had come to an end. His modesty and humility, and his deep love for the theatre and all its people ought to be recognized.

Memory: Sir Laurence Olivier (Artistic DIrector)

Laurence OlivierAs the greatest actor of a generation to have him as the 1st Artistic Director was, I believe, the most significant factor in enabling Leslie Evershed-Martin’s dream to be fulfilled. His international status and his acting pedigree attracted both artists and audiences to Chichester – something that probably, at the time, couldn’t have been achieved by anyone else.

From: Simon Parsonage

Memory: John Gale OBE (Artistic Director 1985-1989)

johngaleobe He came in and saved the Theatre at a really difficult time for Chichester. Gale turned around the financial difficulties and kept us all employed.

From: Anon

Memory: Jonathan Church and Alan Finch (Artistic and Executive Directors 2006 – 2016)

director 12 Finch

Together they’ve made a huge impact on Chichester, for example they got RENEW off the ground and such a renovation project has been needed for a long time. This was all down to them. They seem to have a Midas Touch when it comes to knowing what Chichester wants.

From: Anon

Memory: Leslie Evershed-Martin (Theatre Founder)

EDITED Photo Leslie Outside Theatre Box 69 H16.5xW21.7cm_001_edited-1

Without him none of us would be here – the Theatre was all a result of this man’s vision and dream.

From: Anon

Memory: Denise Milward Oliver

A staunch volunteer.

From: Anita Trevelyan

Memory: Jacqui Hepworth (Supporter)

She always helps out with youth theatre productions as well as serving on a fund raising committee for the Stephen Pimlott Building and Renew. She attends all the plays.

From: Anon