Gillian is working with teams of volunteers in the West Sussex Record Office to sort through and list the 1,000 boxes of paper files which constitute 50 years’ worth of potential material for the Chichester Festival Theatre’s archive – the keystone of the Pass It On project. As the first team of volunteers finish their term, Gillian reflects on the initial three months of organising our archive:
It’s the end of a little era. The first two teams to sort and box documents and files belonging to the Chichester Festival Theatre have now completed their time. They have done sterling work and I shall miss them.
We have made excellent progress. We are attempting to separate all the paperwork relating to the history and development of the Theatre from that which is perhaps not so significant and needs only to be kept for a short time. The newly sorted documents will become the new Chichester Festival Theatre archive, to be stored at West Sussex Record Office and will eventually be available for viewing by the public.
The past is ‘This happened’ and then ‘This happened’ and then ‘This happened’, isn’t it? The past: a series of events, a series of dates even. If we want to make sense of the past we can choose moments from it, try to sort out which moments are important, and link them – this led to this, this led to this, and this led absolutely nowhere (history as a basic theatre plot, if you like).
If we’re ambitious, we might even try to give past events some sort of meaning. Perhaps this event displayed a spirit of innovation; this showed a certain courage and this then revealed a sad timidity.
Much of the data we can gain is from written records. In the case of Chichester Festival Theatre, the records are extensive. There are all the contracts with directors, writers, actors, musicians, designers and the rest – including, of course, architects. And then there are all the theatre programmes and reviews. So there is a lot on the page already.
On the 12 July the first public event of the Pass It On project kicked off with a small gathering in the sunshine to celebrate the reveal of a large artwork inspired by Chichester Festival Theatre, displayed on the hoardings around the building.
A couple of blog posts ago Pass It On volunteer, Natasha Rose, wrote about her experience helping with art workshopswhich took place back in April with families from local charity and Pass It On partner, PACSO (Parent and Carers Support Organisation). Last Friday we were very proud to officially reveal the artwork that had been produced using prints and designs created during these workshops.
Between January and April of this year, 18 Year 11 Youth Theatre members and I were involved in creating a piece of Verbatim Theatre, a style of theatre where the text is taken directly from interview transcripts. As Youth Theatre intern, I was given the opportunity to run a project of my choosing. I decided to create and direct a piece of Verbatim theatre as it is a style that I had only ever written and thought about in an academic setting, never in any practical way. I asked for volunteers who would be interested in generating and performing such a piece. Continue reading “Word for Word: Chichester Festival Youth Theatre”→
Heritage Lottery Funding has enabled Chichester Festival Theatre to carry out a Heritage Learning and Participation project over three years, exploring activities such as workshops, working with schools, exhibitions, archiving and volunteer training in order to increase community collaboration and engagement with the Theatre, ultimately enhancing the awareness of its exciting Heritage. As part of this project, the Theatre ran two Family art workshops, in partnership with PACSO (Parents and Carers Support Organisation), My role as a volunteer was to research, collect data and record observations, in order to evaluate how valuable the workshops were in terms of engagement and learning for its participants and the other volunteers involved. This then enabled me to create an evaluative report and blog. Continue reading “Family art workshops with PACSO”→