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South East’s Chichester Festival Theatre encourages younger audience members

  • Date: 19 April 2013
  • Area: South East
Men and women acting together in a room

Chichester Festival Theatre, 2013. Credit: Catherine Ashmore

Chichester Festival Theatre, an Arts Council National portfolio organisation, is launching a new scheme for its annual festival with a great offer for 18 - 25 year olds. The festival season opens on 22 April at the Minerva theatre and will see seven productions staged between this space and the new temporary auditorium.  A special allocation of tickets priced at £8.50 will be available to the younger audience a month before each production and are available for every performance in each venue.

Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) is committed to encouraging younger people into independent theatregoing. The theatre was one of the most successful participants in Arts Council England's A Night Less Ordinary scheme, giving away free tickets to young people in 2009 - 10. During its 50th anniversary year in 2012 CFT attracted a large proportion of younger audience members through its pop-up auditorium, Theatre on the Fly. The new initiative reflects their continued focus on supporting the younger generation into the theatre sector.

This year's Festival will see the erection of Theatre in the Park, a 1,400 seat temporary state-of-the-art auditorium just a few minutes stroll across the park from the Festival theatre site. Theatre in the Park will be unveiled on 15 July with Barnum, an exciting Broadway musical following the life of one of America's greatest showmen, Phineas T Barnum.

The temporary space will be created in June while the £22 million RENEW redevelopment of the Theatre continues. RENEW is Chichester Festival Theatre's 50th Anniversary project to upgrade and refurbish the Festival Theatre building. It is part funded by Arts Council England as part of our Capital investment programme which supports organisations to develop resilience by giving them the right buildings and equipment to deliver their work, and to become more sustainable and resilient businesses.

The festival features a range of theatre from the romantic comedy, The Pajama Game, to The resistible rise of Arturo Ui, a sharp and thrilling parable of the rise of Hitler and an adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Witches. Other highlights of Festival 2013 include Neville's Island, Tim Firth's comedy about a disastrous expedition exploring the middle aged, middle management in the middle of nowhere, the world premiere of If Only, which takes a witty and astute look at the world of the coalition government and Julian Mitchell's Another Country, exploring public school rebellion, scandal and hypocrisy.

Alan Finch, Executive Director at Chichester Festival Theatre, says: 'Festival 2013 will be a particularly exciting and unusual season for us. In the summer we will construct a temporary auditorium, the 1,400-seat Theatre in the Park, while the £22 million redevelopment of the Festival Theatre continues, thanks to the support of organisations such as Arts Council England.

'Together with our recently re-seated Minerva Theatre, the opening of Theatre in the Park will increase the capacity in both our theatres, making this the ideal opportunity to develop a younger audience.

'Having been one of the most successful theatres in giving away tickets to young people through the Arts Council England funded A Night Less Ordinary scheme in 2009 - 10, we were determined to build on this achievement. Our new initiative will make up to 10% of tickets at every performance available to 18 - 25 year olds at the special price of £8.50. We are committed to encouraging independent theatregoing at Chichester by young people, and would encourage all of our supporters to spread the word about this opportunity.'

Jenny Roberts, Theatre Relationship Manager, for the South East, Arts Council England says: 'It's very encouraging that CFT have built on the strong legacy of their A Night Less Ordinary scheme giving young people access to a great new ticket offer for a high quality and varied season of theatre.'

For more information and to book tickets: click here