Memory: Michael Howe (Actor)


michael howe

I had the greatest pleasure of starting my career at the Chichester Festival Theatre  in 1966 playing the Milkman’s Son in The Fighting Cock [that transferred to the West end later that year] and also playing Son of Macduff in Macbeth. John Clements took the title role and it was his first year as Artisic Director after Laurence Olivier stepped down.  There is photograph of myself taken in production with Zena Walker who played Lady Macduff [Page 34 in The Miracle Theatre by Leslie Evershed-Martin, see above] I have since played The Theatre, last time taking the role of Mr Arthur Jingle in Pickwick in 1993.

Fantastic space to work! Inspiring.

From: Michael Howe

Memory: Make Me A World (1976)

“Make me a world” and another show wonderful Christmas shows. Late 60s? Early 70s? (The latter, I think – our 3 young children loved these, and so did we!)

From: Annette Barker

Memory: The Visit (1995)

Signed Programme - The Visit, Ralph Ansley - 1995 - R.Ansley Collection - H24.8cm W17.4cm - 01 of 15

Travelled from London (where I then lived) to see Lauren Bacall on stage (with Joss Ackland in ‘The Visit’). Superb performance by a legendary actress, supported by a terrific cast and memorable staging which included a railway track (and miniature train).

From: Anon

Memory: Milton Jones (Comedian)

Comedy Festival – Milton Jones was very entertaining.

From: Anon


Memory: The Barchester Chronicles (2000)

Photographs rehearsal - Barchester Chronicles - 2000 - J Eydmann Collection - 1 of 3

My best memories of CFT are of The Barchester Chronicles in April 2000. There was one professional director, Roger Redfarn, and some 300 amateurs who included actors, costumiers, make-up artists etc. I was in the dance team and in the crowds. It was great fun and a good re-launch for the theatre.

From: Jim Tice

Memory: The Lady’s Not For Burning (1972)


Dr Kildare was played by Richard Chamberlain and I remember the excitement of seeing someone from the TV onstage at Chichester. Chamberlain was one of the most sought-after film and television actors of the time.

From: Anon

Memory: The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964)


It was just such a spectacular production. My mother brought us down from London to see the play.

From: Rosemary Hodge

Memory: The Unknown Solider and His Wife (1968)


A comedy which nevertheless points up the futility of war by showing Mr Everyman being sent off to war through the ages, and the effects on his wife.

From: Anne Barry

Memory: Treasure Island (1973)

treasure island

I remember this Christmas production, starring John Clements, had very stirring music. It was very good. There was also a real parrot in the production and I can still remember the parrot auditions now!

From: Anon

Memory: Uncle Vanya (1962)

Joan Plowright & Laurence Olivier

1. Uncle Vanya, I like Checkov anyway, but it had Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Joan Plowright, Louis Casson, Sybil Thorndike, Joan Greenwood, all of whom were important actors at the time when I was coming, you wouldn’t know them you’d only have seen them when they’re on film but that was very exciting and it came back the following year.

From: Beryl

2. Your very first opening production of Uncle Vanya. . . . We’ve never ever forgotten it…was it really fifty years ago?

From: Julia Parker

Other comments: (we come to you about once a year as we now live in Sydney Australia so hang about for a week or two, as with brother and sister-in law we will be booking very soon for Guys and Dolls. We love the theatre…Heartbreak House was a stunner too!) I’m on your list so I keep up with what’s going on. See you in August or September! Also we look forward to pre-performance dinner too! Cheers Julia Parker and husband Derek too!

3. A never to be forgotten production which starred Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Joan Plowright, Sybil Thorndike, Rosemary Harris. etc. etc.

From: Derek Scott

4. The production of Uncle Vanya in 1962 with Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave and Joan Plowright, was brilliant, and moving, I came from London for the day with my schoolfriend Christine, it opened our eyes to Russian drama and was the start of many excellent plays we saw in Chichester, even today looking back it still stands out in my memory, and seeing the DVD of the original production confirms my judgement.

From: Anon

Memory: The Beggar’s Opera (1972)


This was a fantastic musical experience, I remember the audience dancing outside the Theatre. It’s also particularly special for me as it was the first season I worked at Chichester.

From: Anon

Memory: Master and Margarita (2004)


An outstanding new adaptation by a local playwright of the book of the same name, superbly directed and acted.

From: John Wilton

Memory: Nicholas Nickleby (2006)

nicholas nickleby 2006

1. …the one that I carry around in my heart is the production called Nicholas Nickleby. It was a very large ensemble show and it took place over two evenings as it’s so long. It was in the very first year that I came here and so it was a huge great risk to do it, but it worked and the audiences loved it and clambered to see it. It went from playing to two hundred people a night in the first week that it opened, to being completely full with twelve hundred people within the period of the eight weeks it was playing on the stage. So it was-it was thrilling for many reasons because it was a big risk to do. It was a brilliant show and so one that I remember very fondly.

From: Alan F

2. It captured all the richness of the novel and was a brave and epic production. I came twice, and ached with laughter and was moved to tears on both occasions. Hats off to Philip Franks!

From: Anon

Memory: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (2011)

rosencrantz 2011

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead… I loved that. I love the play and I thought the production was excellent, absolutely excellent. It was done as if it was absolutely fresh and happening for the first time on the stage that night. I mean sometimes you can see plays and you know that they’ve been doing it for weeks and every night they’ve been churning this stuff out. And it’s a play that’s been around for a long time. But even despite that, they did it in a really fresh way.

From: Peter

Memory: Scapino or The Trickster (2005)

123 Scapino or the trickster We so enjoyed this magical and hilarious production with Richard McCabe playing the lead role – and our children loved it too – so we came twice. On the second performance, one of the actors was stuck on a train journey and another actor had to come on and read the part from the script, but it still came across brilliantly.

From: Stephen Mollett

Memory: Singin’ in the Rain (2011)

singin' in the rain 2011

Read about the use of water and stage design in Singin’ In The Rain.

1. This was such a wonderful production, full of energy and talented performers. The creative team involved created a masterpiece.

From: Luna

2. Uplifting,joyous fun innovative production staging, great choreography, energetic committed cast.

From: Keith Seston

3. I can not choose between ‘Singing in the Rain’ with Adam Cooper & the delectable Scarlett Strallen and ‘„ƒSweeney Todd’ with the brilliant Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball plus some incredible scenery. They were two incredible productions in the same summer and then both of them deservedly going straight up to the West End. These shows were so good that when you left the theatre you would have gone straight back in and seen them all over again.

From: Ralph Ansley

4. Best show was “Singin’ in the Rain”.

From: Anon

5.  The staging of Singing in the Rain. The water and rain scene.

From: Anon

Memory: Terra Nova (1980)


Read about the set and costume design of Terra Nova.

1. Decades ago but we remember it to this day as a fantastic use of the Theatre to invoke the Antarctic conditions, isolation of the men etc. with fantastic acting by a small cast – and didn’t rely on a ‘famous name’ to draw in the crowds. I remember it was one of those performances I love where its ‘must-see’ passed by word of mouth.

From: Lesley Parker

2. I remember this performance by Hywel Bennett as being absolutely outstanding – and I clearly remember being amazed on leaving the theatre to find that Oaklands Park was not under several feet of snow and ice!

From: Mary Sharp

3. My most memorable CFT production was Terra Nova which told the story of Scott’s last expedition.

From: Paul Smithers via Twitter

Memory: Blood Brothers (1987)


This was the version of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers with Con O’Neill and Kiki Dee.

At the end there was a few seconds of complete silence followed by everyone standing up and applauding. It was a special moment following two very outstanding performances.

From: Ralph Ansley

Other comments: It was the show that made me see shows I did not now much about.

Memory: Calendar Girls (2008)

calendar girls

My favourite production at CFT has to be Calendar Girls- funny, moving and a fantastic set.

From: Sarah Smithers

Memory: Cyrano de Bergerac (2009)


Absorbing from start to finish with a superb cast!

From: Anon

Memory: Follow The Star (1974)


  1. I came to the CFT production of Follow the Star when I was a child and I still remember the mad antics of the angels sliding down slides from heaven. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, not your standard pantomime and has given me a strong bond with CFT ever since. Thankfully I have moved back near enough to be able to come regularly. Worth a rerun? Would love to bring my children to see it.

From: Hannah Emerton

2. Memory not too good now but I remember coming to the theatre in the 70s when we were living in Southsea, to see the Christmas panto “Follow the Star”. All very innovative with apron stage and the cast running round the auditorium. Great fun!

From: Anon

Memory: Goodnight Mister Tom (2013)


My very favourite production I have ever seen at Chi. It was so very well produced and every aspect was so moving – brilliant. And it was said that John Thor was the only man to play Mr Tom!

From: Maggie Smith

Other comments: The Festival Theatre is my very favourite theatre.