Ambitious plans for Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech

Plans are well under way for next year’s Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech, with a range of new ideas and innovations.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 7:35 am
Jenie Pressdee
Jenie Pressdee

Chairman Jenifer Pressdee said: “We were unable to run a dance section this year but I am delighted to report that we now have a new section leader, Angela Watkins, who will oversee our 2020 Festival which will be held in the new venue of Bishop Luffa School from February 17 to 21. She has lots of new ideas and along with introducing Acro and Street Dance into our programme is also venturing into launching new merchandise in the form of hoodies and T-shirts which can be ordered online on

“This is an exciting period for the festival to be moving into the 21st century. Angela has been joined by her colleague A J Forbes-Lane and together they are looking to bring in new ideas for future festivals. Other exciting news is that we are for the first time in our 65 years using the Pimlott Building, the professional theatre base for our speech & drama and musical theatre sections. Section leader Mini Elliot is delighted with this venture, since our partnership set up last year which supports some Chichester Youth Theatre bursaries out of the Hilda Jackman Bursary Fund. Dale Rooks of the CFT will be the adjudicator for speech & drama which will be on February 8 and 9 and Peter Dayson will adjudicate the musical theatre classes on February 29.

“Our choir section too will be held in the new venue of Central CE Academy in Chichester on March 14 and will be run by Kate Goodchild and our secretary, Mary Smith. Parking facilities are generous here for the many participants in this section.

“We also welcome Alan Rodger, another new section leader for brass which takes place in the same venue of Central CE Academy on March 7 as well as Janet Topping who has recently joined our committee and represents the British Federation of Music Festivals and has taken over running the recorders and woodwind sections which will take place in the same venue on the ear-lier date of February 29.

“Guitars and strings will take place in the usual venue of the Regis School of Music on February 1, 2, 8 and 9 respectively. Both Sasha Levtov and Inna Erskine look forward to welcoming everyone.

“There is no change in venue for adult singing which is to be held at Christ Church, Chichester on February 8 and 9 and also junior singing to be held on March 7 and 8. The section leader for both sections is Jo Wardroper.

“Our final section is piano which will be held in the Regis School of Music and is led by Alison Blenkinsop in her final year on the committee. So there have been many changes and new faces!

“I am personally thrilled that the whole festival is at last mainly held in Chichester venues apart from Bognor Regis School of Music.

“To finish the festival we always have a gala concert which will take place on Saturday, March 21 2020 in the new venue of Bishop Luffa School at 6.30pm.

“This is a great celebration to see the best of all sections perform and show off their talents and for special awards to be presented.

“There will be an opportunity to see our new merchandise and to enjoy refreshments in the interval.”

The closing date for online entries to take part in our Festival is Sunday, December 1.