We’ve been showing it off for months now; public and private tours for members of the public to experience and explore backstage areas, and the Open Day where we threw open every single door for visitors to find out more about what happens behind the scenes. But this week we have been able to properly enjoy our renewed and refreshed Theatre from a rather special vantage point.
As I write this, I can turn to the right and ahead, and see green parkland space. The Director’s Office is a mere few metres away, and to the left is our brand new meeting room. Yes, we have finally packed up out of our temporary office in the Stephen Pimlott building and officially moved into the Festival Theatre!
The office is housed in the new extension added to the back of the Theatre. A huge lightwell that spills outside light down into this office space also connects the upstairs dressing room area with admin. Everything is open plan and we are all on an equal footing. This is a design feature that you will find in all areas of the Theatre, from the entrance foyer, a space with no ‘VIP’ areas which every single ticket holder can enjoy, to the 12 dressing rooms in the new extension, that all provide the same facilities for each performer – no matter what the name. This sense of democratic space not only enhances the feeling of community within the building (between both cast, crew and admin) but is also an important and original feature of Powell and Moya’s 1962 vision.
It is with great excitement that Pass It On can introduce, not one, but two new members of our team. Harriet Rose will be joining us as the third Trainee working on the project, and Nick Corbo-Stewart will be based at the Record Office as our official Chichester Festival Theatre Archivist.
As the Heritage Activities Team doubles its numbers to the grand total of four, I have the honour of becoming the third Heritage Activities Trainee. My predecessor, Becky, has risen to the position of Heritage Activities Officer and I’m sure will be keeping a watchful eye over me to ensure I maintain her high standards!
Having previously worked with the National Trust creating school courses and family events, I am passionate about helping people access and learn more about our Great British Heritage. I have studied Drama at the University of Winchester and Design for Performance and Events at the University for the Creative Arts, and therefore working with Chichester Festival Theatre on the Pass It On project indulges all my interests.
As I write this I am ending my second day in this role and feel I have only just witnessed the tip of the iceberg of this huge and exciting project. Over the next year I will be working in this newly formed quartet along with all the other members of staff at Chichester Festival Theatre and of course all the great volunteers who help make this project possible. Time to get stuck in.