“By the community, for the community.”
This ethos was a huge part of the original Festival Theatre build in 1962, a project that relied on public fundraising by much of the local community to make Leslie Evershed-Martin’s hopes for a regional theatre come true.
It’s a philosophy that Pass It On aims to live by too. We are working in partnership with West Sussex Record Office to sort and preserve a paper archive for Chichester Festival Theatre; with an expert Oral Historian to capture living memories of the Theatre; with local schools to develop a series of teaching resources and with our own Youth Theatre to develop short plays and tours that draw on the Theatre’s heritage in a variety of different ways.
This even filters through to our website. Many of the pages you can explore and browse through have been completed by volunteers. They have been briefed, or have come up with the idea themselves to research particular areas in the Theatre’s history. This way, the website is able to evolve in a very organic manner, with new pages being added by a whole host of volunteers.
Holly Stewart, a history student at the University of Chichester, has produced an extensive overview of the 50+ years history of the Theatre, working decade by decade. Her work can be seen on the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000 to the present pages.
Amelia Mlynowska, alumni of the Youth Theatre and one of our Young Playwrights, has created several pages that detail the development of a temporary performance space at Chichester Festival Theatre into the popular Minerva Theatre, the sister space of the Festival Theatre. Her work includes a section on studio spaces, the Tent’s summer seasons , a permanent studio theatre, the studio theatre idea, studio theatre funding, and the grand opening.
Alice Du Port, creative arts student, discusses the history of using water on stage at Chichester Festival Theatre , while recent architecture graduates Fay Wilson and Rob Healy offer some background detail about the Theatre’s unique post-war Brutalist architecture, the original architects Powell and Moya and the gravity defying suspension roof.
Not forgetting our volunteer focused blogs – we’ve had posts from all sorts of different people about the work they’ve been doing for Pass It On, mini-research projects, or even just sharing their memories of CFT with us. These can be found in the Guest Bloggers section of our website.
We hope you enjoy exploring the website as much as we enjoy sharing these stories with you. If you can think of a page or two that’s missing, or would like to get involved with writing for the website, please get in touch at [email protected].
You can also follow on us Twitter at @PassItOnCFT for exclusive insight into the day-to-day workings of the project.