Chichester Festival Theatre attracts crowds for revamp picnic event

A THOUSAND people turned out today (Sunday) to an Oaklands Park picnic event to offer views on plans for improving Chichester’s iconic Festival Theatre.

Management at the venue are seeking residents’ suggestions on how to revamp the grade II listed 1960s building, which has been widely recognised as being in need of modernisation.

The theatre, which marks is 50th anniversary next year, is hoping to submit a planning application by the end of September following the final few weeks of consultation over potential plans.

Residents have been given questionnaires on areas which they would like to see improved, including the main auditorium, backstage, foyers, general accessibility and landscaping around the building.

Sarah Mansell, campaign director believed there had been an exceptionally strong reception to its public engagement sessions, which have been going on throughout the year.

She said: “We’re really thrilled wit the reception that we’ve had to today’s event, with 1000 people who have come down for it to give us their views.

The theatre is the cultural icon of the South East but we need to bring it up to the standards of a 21st century venue- the back stage areas of the building are poor.

So we need to look at how we can make it better.

We have had some very positive feedback so far and we are glad of the support that people have shown us.”

The trustees of the theatre commissioned architects Haworth Tompkins to conduct a conservation management study to establish potential options for restoration and refurbishment.

For more information about the campaign or to post suggestions for improvements, contact Sarah Mansell on 01243 812902 or visit