This week marks a very exciting and important step in the Pass It On project and for Chichester Festival Theatre. Our new online digital archive is now live – meaning you can browse through heritage material and content from the Theatre’s past. This is a huge achievement as for two years now, volunteers have been scanning and editing items from our paper archive and memorabilia collection. This has allowed for greater public access to the Chichester Festival Theatre archive as we can share digital content in a manner of ways, including our website and Twitter and Pinterest accounts. The idea is that the digital version of the item looks as accurate and realistic as its physical counter-part, so you don’t necessarily need to visit the Record Office for research.
We’ve been working really hard to update the online archive which now allows for a much better experience when browsing through our heritage content.
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.