1969: Patricia Routledge
The 1969 season saw the Chichester debut of Patricia Routledge, who became a frequent and much-loved performer at CFT. She acted in three out of four productions that year: Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Pinero's The Magistrate, and Lady Fidget in Wycherley's Restoration comedy The Country Wife alongside Maggie Smith. She has since appeared in more than twelve CFT productions including Dandy Dick (1973), Beatrix (1996), The Rivals (1994) and Office Suite (2007).
The reason I came to Chichester in 1969 was to play opposite Alastair Sim in The Magistrate, which was unforgettably wonderful. That God-given face to start with and then, when it starts to move, it is even more interesting, and then when it moves with the mind and the intention behind it, even more wonderful. [...] We played to packed houses, with people standing at the back. I learned from [Sim] never to be impatient with a slow audience. He knew he could woo them to his knees, never playing for laughs.
Patricia Routledge (Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty)