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Derek Jacobi and John Simm celebrate Chichester across the decades in Visionary Stages

DIGITAL STAGES, five dynamic digital events celebrating Chichester Festival Theatre across the decades, will be released over CFT’s birthday week in July for audiences across the globe. They range from VR tours and online performances to a brand-new virtual game created by CFT’s community companies for adults with learning disabilities.

The series launches with Visionary Stages from Sunday 3 July.

Actors Sir Derek Jacobi and John Simm, author and playwright Kate Mosse and designer Joanna Scotcher join CFT Artistic Director Daniel Evans and the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival Theatre in Ontario, Canada, Antoni Cimolino, for a virtual meet-up using cutting-edge technology to recreate Chichester’s 1962 stage.

Daniel and his special guests will talk about 60 years of extraordinary theatre and the shared history of the two buildings (the Canadian theatre inspired the founding and design of CFT), reliving some favourite productions and memories as they travel through the decades.

During lockdown, the Festival Theatre auditorium was scanned by the specialist company Preevue with LiDAR technology, enabling them to recreate the 1962 stage using plans, photographs and archive records of the furniture and fittings. The event was filmed by technical solutions specialist White Light, using their innovative and award-winning SmartStage®. For the first time, this technology enabled a historical design to be brought back to life – by placing real, precise scans of the physical theatre into an immersive video environment. The solution also allowed for Antoni Cimolino to be virtually ‘teleported’ from Ontario to join Daniel Evans on the SmartStage for the discussion.

Watch the trailer for Visionary Stages which will be streamed online from Sunday 3 July at 3pm and available on demand thereafter. Tickets £5.

Digital Stages also includes an immersive Backstage Virtual Tourand Your Dream, a mammoth online performance of a scene from A Midsummer Night’s DreamDigital Diorama will display 60 pieces from CFT’s fascinating archive, while Game Changer is a new virtual theatre experience created by CFT’s ‘Wednesday and Friday’ Community Companies for adults with learning disabilities, combining gaming technology with theatrical storytelling and music.