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Chichester Festival Theatre’s series of free Pre- and Post-Show Talks, sponsored by Close Brothers Asset Management, will get you closer to every show in the Festival 2024 season.

Pre-Show talks are held with the director of each show, usually prior to the final preview; while Post-Show talks take place after a performance with members of the cast, often during the final week of the run, and provide a fascinating insight into how CFT’s incredible productions develop from the page to the stage.

Angela Buckley, Projects, Events & Green Book Co-ordinator at CFT, organises these insightful events. ‘I’d done loads of post-show talks in my time as a stage manager, but I was puzzled, when I first came to CFT, about Pre-Show talks; how could you hold a conversation about a play in advance? But they are so interesting,’ she says. ‘Speaking to a director who’s still actively in the process of creating the show, you get such an insight into the rehearsal process, when all the details are so vivid in their mind. They’ll often talk about changes they are implementing that night – rearranging or cutting a scene.

‘Kate Mosse, our local best-selling novelist and playwright, is our host and we’re very lucky to have her since she really appreciates the process of putting a production on stage. Each director’s viewpoint is so different, depending on how they work and what the production is.

Three women smile at the camera backstage at Chichester Festival Theatre. On the left is a woman in glasses and a black-and-white striped shirt, in the centre is a woman with short blond wearing a grey jacket, and on the right is a woman in a blue jumper holding a theatre programme which reads 'The Other Boleyn Girl'
Angela Buckley, Lucy Bailey and Kate Mosse before the Pre-Show Talk for The Other Boleyn Girl

‘We do have to be careful not to give too much away, because not everyone in the audience will have seen the play – many will be coming that evening. But it’s surprising how revealing the Pre-Shows can be, without giving away spoilers – and the audience gets the chance to ask questions as well. There’s also a sense of celebration, I think, when we get to the Pre-Show talk because we are almost at press night; a lot of the big decisions have been made and this huge journey of creating the show is almost at an end.

‘Equally I love the Post-Show talks because it’s the opportunity to hear from the cast members. They’ve had time to allow the show to bed in and to understand the audience reactions. They are relaxed occasions: the actors are on stage with a drink in hand and the chats can be very varied, from their experience of Chichester to the show itself. By coming to both Pre-and Post-show talks, you’ll get a completely different perspective.’

A hexagonal theatre stage, with two women sat on chairs in the centre of it. On the floor of the stage is a large image of Henry VIII's face, above the stage hand large lancing swords, and behind is a metal wall with arches doorway sand windows like a palace or church. In the foreground are the back of audience's heads as they look at the stage.

There is no charge to attend these talks, though it is essential to book a free ticket for the Pre-Show talks.

‘The fact that it’s free is a huge advantage,’ says Angela. ‘To get such an exclusive insight at no extra charge makes it inclusive for everyone, which is why the support of Close Brothers Asset Management is so important. The number of people coming has rocketed over the last couple of years, so there’s a real appetite there.’

Kate Lovelace, Sponsorship & Events Senior Executive at Close Brothers Asset Management, said, “We are thrilled to have launched this new sponsorship with Chichester Festival Theatre. It’s a privilege for us to play a part in supporting the theatre’s work, bringing the community together and contributing to initiatives which nurture our clients' passions.”

We are proud to partner with Close Brothers Asset Management on our free series of Festival 2024 Pre- and Post-Show Talks. For the full schedule, visit Video recordings of all Pre-Show Talks are added to our YouTube channel following the live events.