News Story

Henry Reeder on the Festival Theatre stage with his family

Initiated in 1998, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the John Hyland Award - given each year in memory of John Hyland and in recognition of his huge support for the work of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre (CFYT), to the member who best embodies the spirit of what CFYT is all about.

John Hyland was a Trustee of the Theatre, Secretary and then Chairman of the Theatre's Society. Together with his wife Sue, he set up the Theatre’s audio description facility, a service that Sue continues to support today. John valued the contribution young people made to Chichester, especially through their involvement in the arts.

We warmly welcomed Sue and her family, along with cast from The Jungle Book and our Youth Advisory Board, to a celebratory ceremony in the Festival Theatre to congratulate Henry Reeder, this year’s winner, and to celebrate CFYT achievements through this wonderful award.

Henry Reeder and members of his family and the CFT team on the Festival Theatre stage

Henry has been a CFYT member for seven years and throughout that time has been a real supporter and advocate for CFT. He began his Youth Theatre journey in the acting group and appeared in Daniel Evans’s production of Forty Years On, playing one of the school boys. In 2021 he joined our Tech Youth Theatre and the following year successfully interviewed to be one of the Junior crew, where he voluntarily gave up his time to support the Youth Theatre productions. With a real hunger to learn new skills, it became evident how hardworking and dedicated Henry is.

During the past year, he completed his Tech Youth Theatre journey by becoming a senior member of the Junior crew and mentoring the new Assistant Stage Managers on The Wind in The Willows. He gave up hours and hours of his time to support the show and never tired of making tea, sweeping floors, pushing sets and, most importantly, nurturing his team. Henry deputised for the professional ASM, when his natural instinct for organisation meant he was able to keep the room working and ensure the show could grow.

Henry Reeder and some of CFT's wardrobe team on the Festival Theatre stage

Henry has a lovely rapport with creative staff as well as fellow young crew and cast members. When he volunteered as a dresser, he made such a brilliant impression on the team that he was employed to be a dresser for the season. Since then, Henry has been asked back to do some professional work on Quiz and The Jungle Book as a rehearsal ASM. Working on a number of CFYT productions, Henry has proved himself to be an enormous asset in the rehearsal room as well as an excellent role model for younger and less experienced members (and also makes the best cuppa).

He is incredibly hard working and conscientious and always goes that extra mile to ensure that everything is delivered to the highest possible quality. His work ethic is impeccable; his nature is one of passion and enthusiasm and he is so committed to what he loves.

We're all extremely pleased to be able to present Henry with this award to recognise all of his achievements. Congratulations Henry!