1971: The Rivals Bomb Scare

The turbulent political climate of the 1970s was felt at Chichester Festival Theatre as early as 1971. Amidst the IRA bombing campaign, Princess Alexandra, who had laid CFT's foundation stone ten years prior, was attending a performance of Sheridan's comedy The Rivals. A phone call was received tipping staff off about an explosive device inside the Theatre. Artistic Director John Clements, who was playing Sir Anthony Absolute, announced the need to evacuate. Luckily, no bomb was found and the show resumed. Explore the gala performance programme below, digitised for the first time since 1971.

Princess Alexandra at CFT's laying of the Foundation Stone in 1961