Blog: Posters from the CFT at the CFC

The group believe this to be Fiona Fullerton, a regular performer at Chichester Festival Theatre. The costume and dated signature in the bottom left corner points towards the production of ‘Henry VIII’ in 1991.

The CFC: Chichester Football Club, the building between the Squash Club and the Theatre. It’s a space the Pass It On team has been working in during the restoration of the Festival Theatre. It’s also where I’ve recently been part of a group opening large parcels wrapped in layers of bubble-wrap and sticky tape, containing framed advertising posters and production photographs of many of the actors who have appeared in plays put on at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The task involved carefully opening the ‘parcels’, each of which had been labelled with various identification numbers and recording information about the contents of each ‘parcel’. We were given a chart to complete for every step of the way, so that nothing was missed. This included details of the label, the condition of the piece, its size and whether it was in colour or black and white. This forms part of the archiving process that is taking place throughout the project. We then had to try and identify the subject/s in the photograph and the production from which it came.  Not an easy job. Hardly any of the boards, on which the work was mounted, had any information as to what it referred.  They were like lost souls waiting to be remembered.

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The posters varied in shape, size and condition. Here’s a laminated poster for ‘Pickwick: The Musical’ (1993) starring Harry Secombe – click image for larger size

This was where the fun started.  We were working in pairs, and if we were not both able to agree as to who the subjects were, we threw it open to the group and wracked our brains.  Who, what, when and where were the obvious questions.  It was often not easy; we had to think laterally in many cases, trying to remember where else we had seen these actors – frozen in time. Even Coronation Street was mentioned more than once. The great thing about the exercise was that the combined memory of the group came into play and solved many problems.  We used the book by Kate Moss Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty to help and when all else failed Becky, the Heritage Activities Officer, used her iPhone to track down errant actors.

One problem that we did encounter was that if any programmes and posters did include information, it was often just the date and month of the run; almost everything but the year.  But in the end most were identified. Finally, Becky took a photograph of each item and allocated it with a number.  This was put on our record sheet and the boards were re-packaged in yards of bubble-wrap. Then, on to the next parcel.

It was a great session, and another example of combined enthusiasm for support of our local theatre.  Keen theatre-goers all as we asked, “Have you seen…?”,”Yes I went last Thursday. It was great.”