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Chichester College and Festival Theatre technical graduate wins national award

The ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) Award for Emerging Excellence 2021 has been won by Jesse Caie – a graduate of Chichester College and Chichester Festival Theatre’s Technical Apprenticeship.

Just two and a half years after completing his CFT apprenticeship, Jesse returned to the Festival Theatre this summer as No 1 Automation Operator on South Pacific. Hitherto, Jesse was working on the automation for the hit West End musical Dear Evan Hansen, to which he’ll return when the show reopens after the pandemic this autumn.

Sally Garner-Gibbons, Technical Theatre Apprenticeship Programme Coordinator and Production Arts Programmer at Chichester College, nominated Jesse for the Award and said:

‘Jesse is an exceptional technician, who made his way to his roles on South Pacific and Dear Evan Hansen through determination, self-development and total commitment to his learning journey.

‘I first met him at age 14 when he joined an after-school tech club I run at the CFT. He went on to join my vocational training course at Chichester College where he very quickly became the college theatre general technician and achieved the highest grades possible. He then applied to CFT (against a strong contingent) to be their Technical Apprentice, developing all-round technical skills. He impressed a number of freelance production managers and was taken out on tours as a result. He always had an eye for Automation and he committed himself to learning as much as he could whilst training and working on professional shows. The quality of his work, level of skill and expression of his knowledge is nothing short of exceptional.’

Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, added: ‘Jesse has proven to be one of the most energetic, positive, collaborative and creative emerging technicians we have had the opportunity to work with. Over the two years of his role as a Technical Apprentice he fully immersed himself in the Theatre organisation, embracing every opportunity to collaborate with different departments both connected directly to the onstage work and in our wider participation departments. Always positive, engaged and hard- working, he excelled as a technician in whatever tasks we gave him. We are delighted that having left us to do automation in the West End and on tour, he returned to us this summer as Automation No 1 on South Pacific – an incredible trajectory in just two years since leaving us.’

Jesse Caie, seen below operating the automation desk for South Pacific, responded: ‘As a small cog in the large machine that is theatre, it blows me away to receive this award. My personal thanks go out to the amazing Sally Garner-Gibbons and my family at Chichester Festival Theatre, not to mention the countless others that have helped me on my journey. I only hope the rest of my career lives up to this award!’