Radical overhaul in pipeline for Chichester Festival Theatre

An artist's impression of the proposed changes to the Chichester Festival Theatre
An artist's impression of the proposed changes to the Chichester Festival Theatre

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AMBITIOUS plans to give Chichester Festival Theatre a £22m overhaul have been submitted.

The famous theatre, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, is in need of modernisation to ensure its survival for the next half century.

A planning application has now been submitted to Chichester District Council.

Most of the artists are currently accommodated in rooms under the stage.

But the proposals would create new dressing rooms, with everything on one level.

Also included are plans for coffee bars in the foyer and tables and chairs spilling outside to create a piazza feel.

Facilities would be significantly improved for the performers with full en-suite facilities.

Currently there is no proper hot water system in the theatre except six or seven immersion tanks dating back years.

There would also be improved toilets for the public.

Alan Finch, executive director at Chichester Festival Theatre, said: ‘The whole thing starts from the 50th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate that anniversary than to try to make sure that the theatre is there in another 50 years.

‘We have gone through a whole process to look at what needs to happen to the physical environment to make it fit for purpose.

‘The architects’ proposals have now gone through and we think they have come up with the right project at the right time at the right price. Everybody stands to benefit.’

The hope is that a large proportion of the money will come through a capital scheme which the Arts Council looks likely to announce. The rest will come from trust funding and also fundraising.