Standing By You with Flowers, Easter Eggs and more!

As the Theatre remains in lockdown, we are continuing our mission to stay connected with audiences, supporters and participants near and far. There’s been plenty going on this week, so here’s our latest update.

We were delighted to announce that, for the first time, we'll be broadcasting an archive recording online. Our Festival 2018 production, Flowers for Mrs Harris will be available to watch for free on our website for 30 days from Thursday 9 April, ready for Easter weekend. Read the full news story here.

Last Friday we released a video for residents of local care homes in isolation: an acapella version of Stand By Me recorded by members of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre. It was curated by our Community Outreach Trainee Ella Bassett, as part of her Gold Arts Award, and we thought it would cheer everyone up to put it on our website too.

Instead of fulfilling their usual role supporting audience members in need of a friendly companion at the Theatre, some of our CFT Buddies (the free scheme kindly supported by Rathbones) and CFT staff have taken on a different role, providing weekly phone-calls to some of those most isolated in our community, to help boost morale and support their wellbeing.

A very generous donation of Easter Eggs from Hillier Garden Centre at Fishbourne have been distributed to our charity partner UK Harvest, Portfield Primary School and to a group of West Sussex Young Carers with whom we regularly work.

And if you’re after a (virtual) Easter Egg of your own, we’ve created an online Easter Egg hunt on 11 pages of the CFT website. 18 Eggs are marked with letters that make up four words; can you find them all and work out what they’re saying?

The Five Day Play project has already attracted almost 100 entries from as far away as New York, and from ages 11 to 82! Please keep your entries coming. The first two winning plays are now available to read on the website; this week’s challenge is to include a historical figure among the characters. Deadline is Friday at 6pm.

Our caterers Caper & Berry have also been working up ways they can support the local community. On 9 April they’ll be preparing Mac ’n’ Cheese in the CFT kitchens and then serving it free from their hot food van to the vital key workers at the Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth. They’ve done a similar exercise at Guildford’s Royal Surrey Hospital near the Caper & Berry headquarters.

Our charity partner UK Harvest have been able to put the CFT van to good use, moving items from the warehouse and collecting books to go out to children in foodbank families. For more information on the work they're doing and how to support them visit their website.

Once again, we so appreciate all your messages of support. And if you're able to consider a donation to support our Keep CFT Connected emergency appeal through this challenging time, we'd be hugely grateful.

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Lizzie Connolly in Present Laughter Chichester Festival Theatre 2018. Credit: Photo by Johan Persson.