1976: New Ventures

In 1976 Artistic Director Keith Michell embarked on a project called New Ventures to find and help nurture new talent including actors, creatives and crew.

Many productions, including one-act plays and rehearsed readings were staged at venues in and around Chichester including the old ballroom at The Dolphin & Anchor Hotel (now the upper floor of Waterstones). One of the most memorable productions was T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral (1977), a visually striking production held in the nave of the Cathedral with Michell starring as Becket. This fringe project was renamed "Chichester Festival Theatre Studio Company" in 1981 and ultimately led to the creation of The Tent in 1983 and the Minerva Studio Theatre in 1989.

New Ventures production listings, taken from Festival Theatre cast lists 1979-1982

By 1979, New Ventures began appearing in programmes for the main Festival Theatre
New Ventures 1980
New Ventures 1981 (renamed "CFT Studio Company")
New Ventures 1982 (renamed "CFT Studio Company")

Newspaper review for No Exit by New Ventures, 1979