Our history

In 2022 we celebrated our 60th birthday (that's diamond FYI - and yes, we're happy to accept late presents!).

To mark the occasion we launched Digital Diorama, an exhibition full of the riches from our archive collection, looking at the milestones which have shaped who we are today. Dive in and take a look...

If you're hooked and want to know more about the history of CFT, you can visit our archive at the West Sussex Record Office or drop us a line at [email protected].

A woman in a flowery dress with a checked apron around her waist and her hair over one shoulder, smiles with her face turned upwards. She is standing in front of a blue background.
2012 to 2021

Productions staged in Festival seasons during these years:
2012:

Festival Theatre -
The Way of the World
A Marvellous Year for Plums
Kiss Me, Kate
Heartbreak House
Antony and Cleopatra

Minerva Theatre -
Uncle Vanya
Canvas
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Surprises
Absurd Person Singular
Private Lives

Theatre on the Fly -
Blue Remembered Hills
Playhouse Creatures
Fred's Diner

CFYT Promenade (Oaklands Park) -
Noah

2013:
Minerva Theatre -
The Pajama Game
If Only
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Another Country
King Lear

Theatre in the Park -
Barnum
Neville's Island

2014:
Festival Theatre -
Amadeus
Guys and Dolls
Gypsy
An Ideal Husband

Minerva Theatre -
Double Bill: Miss Julie / Black Comedy
Pitcairn
Taken at Midnight
Frankie & Johnny at the Clair de Lune

2015:
Festival Theatre -
Way Upstream
A Damsel in Distress
Mack and Mabel
Young Chekhov: The Seagull / Platonov / Ivanov

Minerva Theatre -
The Rehearsal
Educating Rita
For Services Rendered
Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
Mrs Pat

CFYT Promenade (Cass Sculpture Foundation) -
Running Wild

2016:
Festival Theatre -
An Enemy of the People
Ross
Half a Sixpence
Much Ado About Nothing (Love's Labour's Won) / Love’s Labour’s Los

Minerva Theatre -
Travels with My Aunt
First Light
FRACKED!
Strife
This House

2017:
Festival Theatre -
Forty Years On
Sweet Bird of Youth
Fiddler on the Roof
The Norman Conquests: Table Manners / Living Together / Round and Round the Garden

Minerva Theatre -
Caroline, Or Change
The Country Girls
The House They Grew Up In
The Stepmother
King Lear
Quiz

CFYT Promenade (Cass Sculpture Foundation) -
Grimm Tales

2018:
Festival Theatre -
Present Laughter
The Chalk Garden
Me and My Girl
Flowers for Mrs Harris
The Midnight Gang

Minerva Theatre -
random / generations
The Country Wife
The Meeting
Copenhagen
Cock
The Watsons

2019:
Festival Theatre -
Shadowlands
Plenty
Oklahoma!
Macbeth

Minerva Theatre -
This Is My Family
The Deep Blue Sea
8 Hotels
Hedda Tesman
The Butterfly Lion

CFYT Promenade (Chichester City Centre) -
Crossing Lines

The Spiegeltent -
Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads

2020: Season cancelled due to COVID 19 pandemic
Festival Theatre -
The Life of Galileo
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
South Pacific
The Taxidermist’s Daughter
Assassins

Minerva Theatre -
The Real Thing
The Village Bike
The Unfriend
The Long Song
The Narcissist

The Spiegeltent -
Crave
(played in Festival Theatre 29 Oct - 4 Nov. From 5 - 7 Nov, the play was staged behind closed doors at the Theatre and streamed live to audiences at home because of national lockdown.)

2021:
Festival Theatre -
South Pacific
The Long Song

Minerva Theatre -
The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Home

2002 to 2011

Productions staged in Festival seasons during these years:
2002:
Festival Theatre -
The Front Page
Wild Orchids
Cabaret
Romeo and Juliet

Minerva Theatre -
The Lady’s Not For Burning
Up On the Roof
Blunt Speaking
Song of the Western Men
Dead Funny

2003:
Festival Theatre -
The Gondoliers
The Merchant of Venice
The Water Babies
The Seagull

Minerva Theatre -
Nathan the Wise
Holes in the Skin
The Coffee House
I Caught My Death in Venice

CFYT Promenade -
Pinocchio

2004:
Festival Theatre -
Out of This World
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Just So
The Master and Margarita

Minerva Theatre -
Three Women and A Piano Tuner
Seven Doors
Cruel and Tender

CFYT Promenade (Minerva Theatre to Cathedral) -
Doctor Faustus

2005:
Festival Theatre -
How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying
Scapino or The Trickster
The Government Inspector
5/11

Minerva Theatre -
King Lear
Six Pictures of Lee Miller
The Scarlet Letter

CFYT Promenade (Goodwood Estate) -
Arabian Nights

2006:
Festival Theatre -
Entertaining Angels
Carousel
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Pravda

Minerva Theatre -
In Praise of Love
Tonight at 8.30 Parts I&II
The Father

CFYT Promenade (Chichester Cathedral) -
Grimm Tales

2007:
Festival Theatre -
The Last Confession
Babes in Arms
Twelfth Night
Hobson’s Choice
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Minerva Theatre -
Office Suite
Macbeth
Waltz of the Toreadors
I Am Shakespeare

2008:
Festival Theatre -
The Cherry Orchard
The Music Man
The Circle
Calendar Girls

Minerva Theatre -
Funny Girl
Collaboration
Taking Sides
Six Characters In Search of an Author
Aristo

CFYT Promenade (Rolls-Royce Goodwood)-
Toad of Toad Hall

2009:
Festival Theatre -
Hay Fever
Cyrano de Bergerac
Oklahoma!
The Grapes of Wrath
Separate Tables

Minerva Theatre -
The Last Cigarette
Taking Sides
Collaboration
Wallenstein
The House of Special Purpose
Enron

2010:
Festival Theatre -
Yes, Prime Minister
42nd Street
Pygmalion
Enron
A Month in the Country

Minerva Theatre -
Bingo
Love Story
Double Bill: The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
The Master Builder

CFYT Promenade (Weald & Downland Museum) -
The Firework Maker's Daughter

2011:
Festival Theatre -
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Singin’ in the Rain
The Deep Blue Sea
Rattigan’s Nijinsky
Sweeney Todd

Minerva Theatre -
She Loves Me
Top Girls
The Syndicate
Double Bill: South Downs / The Browning Version

1992 - 2001

Productions staged in Festival seasons during these years:
1992:

Festival Theatre -
Coriolanus
Venus Observed
King Lear in New York
She Stoops to Conquer

Minerva Theatre -
Me and My Friend
Double Take
Vita and Virginia

1993:
Festival Theatre -
Getting Married
Relative Values
Pickwick
The Matchmaker

Minerva Theatre -
Carrington
Rope
Elvira ‘40

1994:
Festival Theatre -
The Rivals
Pygmalion
The Schoolmistress
Let’s Do It!

Minerva Theatre -
A Doll’s House
Dangerous Corner
Three Sisters

1995:
Festival Theatre -
Hobson’s Choice
The School for Scandal
The Miser
The Visit

Minerva Theatre -
Taking Sides
A Word from Our Sponsor
Playing the Wife
The Hothouse
Monsieur Amilcar

1996:
Festival Theatre -
Love for Love
Mansfield Park
Beethoven’s Tenth
When We Are Married
Fortune’s Fool
Lock Up Your Daughters

Minerva Theatre -
Simply Disconnected
Talking Heads
Uncle Vanya
Hedda Gabler
Beatrix
The Handyman
It Could Be Any One of Us
Educating Rita
Oleanna
Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing

1997:
Festival Theatre -
The Admirable Crichton
Lady Windermere’s Fan
Blithe Spirit
Divorce Me, Darling!
Our Betters
The Magistrate

Minerva Theatre -
After October
Nocturne for Lovers
Tallulah!
Suzanna Andler
Misalliance
Electra

1998:
Festival Theatre -
Saturday, Sunday…and Monday
Racing Demon
Chimes at Midnight
Katherine Howard

Minerva Theatre -
Loot
Song of Singapore
The Glass Menagerie

1999:
Festival Theatre -
The Importance of Being Earnest
Semi-Detached
Easy Virtue
The Man Who Came to Dinner

Minerva Theatre -
The King of Prussia
Insignificance
Nymph Errant
The School of Night
The Retreat from Moscow

2000:
Festival Theatre -
The Recruiting Officer
Heartbreak House
A Small Family Business
Arcadia

Minerva Theatre -
The Sea
The Blue Room
Pal Joey
Aristocrats
Hysteria

2001:
Festival Theatre -
On the Razzle
The Winslow Boy
My One and Only
Three Sisters

Minerva Theatre -
Song of Singapore
Shang-a-Lang
In Celebration
The Secret Rapture
Putting It Together
Stairs to the Roof
Hock and Soda Water

A black-and-white photo of a puppet rhino on the Festival Theatre stage. The puppet has its legs splayed and is facing the camera.
1982 - 1991

Productions staged in Festival seasons during these years:
1982:

Festival Theatre -
On the Rocks
Valmouth
Cavell
Goodbye, Mr. Chips

The Tent -
Alice in Wonderland
Henry V
Make Way for Lucia
Modigliani
Two Two One B

1983:
Festival Theatre -
A Patriot For Me
Time and The Conways
As You Like It
The Sleeping Prince

The Tent -
Dear Emma
Stag
The Final Furlong
Roughover Golf Club 1936
Yes and No
Say Something Happened
Aurora Leigh
The Iron and the Oak
Ball Boys
Oasis and After
Ronald Eyre – A Personal choice of Poetry & Music
Falkland Sound
The Late Light Revue
Bash's Backstage Boogie Band

1984:
Festival Theatre -
Forty Years On
Oh, Kay!
The Merchant of Venice
The Way of the World

The Tent -
Carmen
The Lady Or The Tiger
Frank
Soldiers Talking, Cleanly…
Derek
Women Are Bloody Marvellous
Red Devils
Chopped Hamlet
Killed: July 17 1916
Shades Of Grey
Break Dancing Active Crew & Corodata Robotic Dance Groups
Just Past The Equinox
Loitering Within Tent
Bash's Backstage Boogie Band

1985:
Festival Theatre -
Cavalcade
Antony and Cleopatra
The Philanthropist
The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Tent -
Elmer Gantry
Twelfth Night
The Stronger
Success
Lavender Song
A Respectable Wedding
Revelations
Laughter From An Empty House
Ragged Streets
The First Deadly Sin
Passion
Cat Up A Tree
Down Cemetery Road
Canary Blunt
DH Lawrence In Sussex
Music In A Summer Tent
Encuentro
Talents Who Amuse
Amnesty International Campaign
Against Torture
Chichester Buskers
Stewart Ferris & Alistair Williams
An Evening Of Opera
Bash's Backstage Boogie Band
Meet Me At The Gate
Reggie The Dog

1986:
Festival Theatre -
Annie Get Your Gun
The Chalk Garden
The Relapse
Jane Eyre
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

The Tent -
The Spershott Version
Salonika
K2
Grock
The Tempest
The Maids
A Warning To The Curious
The Planet Of Doom
Love's Last Shift
The Late Light Revue
Constance Cummings 'Fanny Kemble At Home'
Alone Together
The Sea And The Mirror
Heart Of Oak
Full Circles
Through The Wilderness
Pietas
The Late Revue – The End Of The World Show
Yet Another Boogie Band Affair
From Mozart To Gershwin
Amnesty International
Fridge
Deep In The Mix

1987:
Festival Theatre -
Robert and Elizabeth
An Ideal Husband
A Man For All Seasons
Miranda

The Tent -
The Fire Raisers
The Game Of Love And Chance
The Human Error
Cheapside
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Two Dots With Dash
The Bear And The Proposal
Elaine Delmar In Concert
The Mayor Of Zalamea
Captain Stirrick
Listen To The Lyric
Stefan's Guide To Culture
The Oblivion Boys In The Wow Show
Shakespeare's Night Off Part II
Innocent's Day
The Recruiting Party
The Incomparable Max
The Boogie Band
80th Birthday Tribute to Christopher Fry

1988:
Festival Theatre -
Hay Fever
Major Barbara
The Royal Baccarat Scandal
Ring Round the Moon

The Tent -
Translations
Tissue
Mr Puntila and His Man Matti
Heartlands
Powder Monkeys
Our Day Out
The Real Inspector Hound
The Late Revue

1989:
Festival Theatre -
Victory!
The Heiress
London Assurance
A Little Night Music

Minerva Theatre -
Summerfolk
Culture Vultures
The Triumph of Love
Cloud Nine
Love’s Labour’s Lost
The Purity Game
War & Peaces

1990:
Festival Theatre -
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Power and The Glory
The Silver King
Rumours
Born Again

Minerva Theatre -
Thérèse Raquin
Eurydice
70, Girls, 70
My Mother Said I Never Should
Scenes From a Marriage

1991:
Festival Theatre -
Arsenic and Old Lace
Henry VIII or All Is True
Tovarich
Preserving Mr Panmure

Minerva Theatre -
Point Valaine
The Sisterhood
Valentine’s Day
Adam Was a Gardener
Talking Heads

Five CFT staff members in green uniforms and blue aprons smile at the camera in a vintage photo.
1972 - 1981

Productions staged in Festival seasons during these years:
1972:

The Beggar’s Opera
The Doctor’s Dilemma
The Taming of the Shrew
The Lady’s Not For Burning

1973:
The Director of the Opera
The Seagull
R Loves J
Dandy Dick

1974:
Tonight We Improvise
The Confederacy
Oedipus Tyrannus
A Month in the Country

1975:
Cyrano de Bergerac
An Enemy of the People
Made in Heaven
Othello

1976:
Festival Theatre -
Noah
Twelfth Night
The Circle
Monsieur Perrichon’s Travels

New Ventures (various venues around Chichester) -
Albert's Bridge
Architruc
Between Heaven and Woolworths
The Canterbury Tales
Double Bill: The Stronger/Hello
From Bertha
Never Go Down to the End of theTown
Hamlet
Missolonghi
New Ventures Storytimes for Children aged 4
The Tremendous Ghost

1977:
Festival Theatre -
Waters of the Moon
In Order of Appearance
Julius Caesar
The Apple Cart

New Ventures (various venues around Chichester) -
An Evening with the Two Keiths
As It Comes Dear?
Battle of Britain
Byron
Full Moon and Little Frieda
Heil Caesar!
Murder in the Cathedral
O Brave New World
Punch and Judy Revisited
Yesterday the Struggle
The Zoo Story

1978:
Festival Theatre -
A Woman of No Importance
The Inconstant Couple
The Aspern Papers
Look After Lulu

New Ventures (various venues around Chichester) -
A Sleep of Prisoners
After Liverpool
Death Watch
Hitting Town
La Musica
Next Time I'll Sing to You
The Problem
The Stuffed Owl

1979:
Festival Theatre -
The Devil’s Disciple
The Eagle Has Two Heads
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Man Who Came To Dinner

New Ventures (various venues around Chichester) -
The Waiting Room
84 Charing Cross Road
A Resounding Tinkle
Boxes and the Refuge
Halfway Up the Stairs
Lord Byron's Love Letters
No Exit
The Peter Pan Man
The Telephone
Trevor
When Will They Ever Learn

1980:
Festival Theatre -
Terra Nova
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney
Much Ado About Nothing
Old Heads and Young Hearts

New Ventures (various venues around Chichester) -
A Phoenix Too Frequent
Bar and Ger
Blind Date
C20 Programme
Children's Show
Dispatches
Lovers Tiff
Passion Poison and Petrification
Return Journey
The Local Stigmatic
The New Quixote
The Public Eye
This Property Is Condemned
Triangle

1981:
Festival Theatre -
The Cherry Orchard
Feasting with Panthers
The Mitford Girls
Underneath the Arches

New Ventures (various venues around Chichester) -
A Visit to the Villa
The British in Love
Double Glazing
Howzat!
Just Liz
Napoleon and Josephine
Skinny Spew and Gum and Goo
The Typists
Stodge Podge and the Treasure
Hunt

Ten ticket stubs from the years 1962-63. They are in pastel colours of green, red, yellow and brown, with block lettering displaying dates, doors and seat numbers.
1962 - 1971

Productions staged in Festival seasons during these years:
1962:

The Chances
The Broken Heart
Uncle Vanya

1963:
Saint Joan
Uncle Vanya
The Workhouse Donkey

1964:
The Royal Hunt of the Sun
The Dutch Courtesan
Othello

1965:
Armstrong’s Last Goodnight
Trelawny of the ‘Wells’
Double Bill: Miss Julie / Black Comedy

1966:
The Clandestine Marriage
The Fighting Cock
The Cherry Orchard
Macbeth

1967:
The Farmer’s Wife
The Beaux’ Stratagem
Heartbreak House
An Italian Straw Hat

1968:
The Unknown Soldier and His Wife
The Cocktail Party
The Tempest
The Skin of Our Teeth

1969:
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
The Magistrate
The Country Wife
Antony and Cleopatra

1970:
Peer Gynt
Vivat! Vivat Regina!
Double Bill: The Proposal / Arms and The Man
The Alchemist

1971:
The Rivals
Dear Antoine
Caesar and Cleopatra
Reunion in Vienna