My six weeks work placement on the Pass It On Heritage Lottery funded project has been a grand experience for me as a student from Germany. The time has flown by while working at Chichester Festival Theatre and West Sussex Record Office, the archive which collects and preserves the documents and recorded heritage of West Sussex.
The project team provided me with a very special task of sorting the entire Chichester Festival Theatre programmes dating from the theatre beginnings in 1962 up to the present. The programmes included the main house and Minerva productions and consequently added up to a huge amount. At the beginning the task did not seem easily manageable, but once I worked my way into it I grew fond of being in charge of such an important and interesting part of the Pass It On project.
Working with old programmes and seeing their change in design and use of material has been extraordinary. The use of paper for the programmes in the 1960’s cannot be compared to the high standard of today’s paper. But still it has performed its task and is perfectly readable, some of the earlier programmes’ layouts were beautiful. Now programmes can now be stored in the archives to be accessed by the public in the future.
The Pass It On Heritage project, lasting three years, offers various interesting insights into the history of the Chichester Festival Theatre and I look forward to returning in 2014 for another six weeks work experience at the Theatre and the Record Office.
This placement has formed part of my English studies in Germany. We are asked to work in an Anglophone country to gain insight in different areas of work and to get to know the occupation’s specific jargon. At the Chichester Festival Theatre, not only have I learned how to store documents in the correct way, but I have also got to know a lot about web design and content management.
The opportunity of working in the field of theatre archives has broadened my horizons and has shown me how important it is to be aware of our precious history and to treat it with respect.