In 1962 the first Artistic Director, Sir Laurence Olivier, welcomed audiences to Chichester Festival Theatre’s inaugural season. The ‘impossible theatre’ had been built on public funds and was a strikingly modern creation housing Britain’s first professional thrust stage.
Today Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the country’s leading theatres, delivering a varied programme of high quality musicals, drama, comedies and new writing in the Festival Theatre and Minerva Studio. Original productions are staged in the Festival season from April - October, with high quality touring shows arriving throughout the winter months.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic building the Theatre underwent considerable redevelopment. The RENEW project saw a complete refurbishment of the 1,300 seat auditorium and the expansion of facilities for both actors and audience members. Visitor access has been greatly improved and there are now more opportunities than ever to get involved with weekly classes, weekend workshops, public tours and open days created by the Learning and Participation department.
Highlights from Festival 2015 included acclaimed productions of For Services Rendered and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, as well as the innovative Young Chekhov season.
During the Winter season, the Theatre becomes a receiving house, welcoming companies and productions from the West End and further afield.