Since the 15 July the cast of Barnum have juggled, sprung, dangled and jumped (not to mention a bit of singing and dancing) for the entertainment of almost 1,400 people a night. An extraordinary success, it will be sorely missed. However to considerably soften the blow comes Neville’s Island (now previewing), Tim Firth’s (of Calendar Girls’ fame) uproarious comedy. The technical team worked day and night to fit the new set- and it’s going to be a cracker with the four-strong cast and director Angus Jackson
Down the hill at the Festival Theatre eyes (and ears) are turned towards the removal and/or repair of the old concrete. Plans have had a little rejigging but the team are confident they have found the solution. The front beam, where concrete has been removed to expose the steel framework underneath, will be the only section to be renovated to such an extent, the rest of the concrete will be repaired in sections where required.
It won’t be long before we see our new Cor-ten cladding going on to sections of the Festival Theatre and the extension. Meanwhile the team are halfway through the groundwork for the new glazed café/bar triangles (ahead of schedule). The bore-holes for the Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP’s) are still under observation, receiving minute-to-minute care and attention. Work in the auditorium, and within the new extension continues; soon the new structure will be fitted with its roof and internal work to services can begin.
Arturo Ui is simultaneously running in the Minerva Theatre and rehearsing for a change of venue- from CFT’s thrust stage to The Duchess’s proscenium arch, which is just as complicated as it sounds. While Another Country, our next Minerva show, has just opened in Bath where it runs prior to its arrival in Chichester.
In just over a month we will say goodbye to our extraordinary Theatre in the Park and indeed many people will be wondering why we have to lose it at all. But here in the Steven Pimlott building, staff want to get back ‘home’, a home that has had a very serious upgrade. In fact we’re confident that once our audience experience our revamped Festival Theatre (refurbished seats, air-conditioning, new lifts, new bar areas, more and better WC’s, improved outdoor areas etc.), all thoughts of resurrecting the pearly white Theatre in the Park will evaporate like the last of the summer’s Pimms.