Festival Fridays

Festival Fridays programme began in September 2021 with 11 children, aged 9-11, from primary schools across the Chichester district. These pupils, nominated by their schools, came to CFT every Friday throughout the academic year to help with building confidence, behaviour management and developing friendships. Led by Richard Knowles, our Education Projects Manager, and Riley Stroud, our Education Apprentice, Festival Fridays has given the children an opportunity to experience the arts as an alternative to formal education and focused on developing their transferable skills including communication, teamwork, resilience and creativity.

Every Friday began with sharing some news about their week whilst enjoying breakfast together which was kindly provided by UK Harvest. Each week they participated in different activities covering a range of topics, aligned to the curriculum, but using drama and theatre skills as the method to explore these topics. Throughout the year they had the opportunity to attend sessions and work with a variety of freelance artists and CFT Staff including costume design with our wardrobe team, getting creative with prop making, building their own set, stage management, puppeteering, writing scripts, performing Shakespeare and even film making.

This all culminated in a sharing with an audience full of family, friends, teachers, headteachers, peers and CFT staff. This was a fantastic celebration of all that our Festival Friday participants had learnt during their time with us. We are so proud of the amazing work created by these young people and how much they have developed. They are now taking part in a variety of summer workshops and have all accepted bursary places to Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, extending their creative relationship with the Theatre of which all participants have accepted. 

‘This is just the best thing ever. I totally love everything we do, even the things I find hard. It’s just 100% amazing’

Festival Fridays Participant

I can already see a tangible change in our children – they are more committed in class. They now put their hands up, take a lead, share ideas, and are much calmer when facing challenges. This project is absolutely working for them.

Class Teacher

‘This has been the highlight of my child’s week and has been a life changing experience. Providing this holistic approach to learning and creativity is a unique gift that would be of benefit to so many more children. Thank you so much for these incredible opportunities through Festival Fridays.’

Parent of Festival Fridays Participant

All of the children were absolute stars in the end of year performance. I was heart-burstingly proud, as was their head teacher. Their confidence, dedication, creativity, skill and energy in the show is testimony to your efforts of support, encouragement and inspiration.

Parent of Festival Fridays Participant