West Sussex theatre could be housed in a tent

Mourners gather at St. Matthews Church in Worthing, West Sussex, for the memorial service. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Hundreds of mourners attend service for Grand Canyon helicopter crash victims

Have your say

CHICHESTER Festival Theatre could find itself being housed in a tent for the 2014 or 2015 summer season as a result of major renewal works costing up to £20m, which are being released today for public consultation.

The CFT will spend the rest of the summer seeking the views of its audiences on a raft of works – costing between £15m and £20m – aimed at safeguarding the future of a rapidly-ageing building.

All the plans – including a backstage extension and the creation of a piazza feel between the main theatre and the Minerva – are subject to modification and may yet be scaled down.

But if they go ahead in their current form and then go on to secure planning permission and funding, it looks likely the main theatre will move either to a temporary marquee or temporarily into another building in the city.

Alan Finch, CFT executive director, said: ‘If we go with the project that we are going out to consultation on, it would mean that one festival – either 2014 or 2015 – would end up in a temporary home.

‘We decided that as the custodians of the 50th anniversary of the theatre next year, we should be trying to make sure this organisation still exists in 50 years’ time.’