Young Commissioning Circle

Aged 16-25? 

Want the chance to go behind the scenes at CFT? Each Festival Season we offer up to 30 young people a place on our Young Commissioning Circle (YCC). If you have an interest, enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn more about how a professional theatre production comes together, the YCC is for you.

Applications in 2019 will take place in February and June. The first round of applications for shows in the first half of the Festival 2019 season (April to July) has now closed. The second round will be for places in the second half (July to November). 

Email if you would like more information.

February applications for first half of the season

Applications for the first half of the season are now closed.

June applications for shows in the second half of the season

Open: 14 June
Closing date: 2 July, 12 noon

This Is My Family– Minerva Theatre

Shadowlands – Festival Theatre

Plenty – Festival Theatre

The Deep Blue Sea – Minerva Theatre

Oklahoma! – Festival Theatre

8 Hotels – Minerva Theatre

Crossing Lines – Promenade (August)

Hedda Tesman – Minerva Theatre

Macbeth – Festival Theatre

Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads – The Spiegeltent

The Butterfly Lion – Minerva Theatre

Is the YCC for me?

To join the YCC you don’t need to be an avid theatre-goer; it could be that you have never been to CFT before, but it is essential that you have a strong interest for live theatre and a real desire to find out more.

What will I be doing?

You will follow one Festival 2019 production from page to stage. This includes receiving a copy of the rehearsal script and meeting the director for a Q&A session. You will also be invited to watch a technical and dress rehearsal. At the end of the process you will receive two complimentary tickets to the show and the chance to meet with the cast at a special evening reception. You will then share your experiences with CFT’s older and long-standing Commissioning Circle members.

Take a look at some of our previous YCC members experiences below:

Luke Thallon (John) and Isabella Laughland (W) in COCK by Mike Bartlett at Chichester Festival Theatre. Credit: Directed by Kate Hewitt, Designed by Georgia Lowe, Lighting by Guy Hoare, Photography by The Other Richard.


Mesha Bryan (The Washing Machine) in Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Caroline, Or Change. Credit: Photo by Marc Brenner.

Caroline, Or Change

Who should apply and how will selections be made?

At CFT, one of our core aims is to make sure we are an organisation that is inclusive and diverse. The YCC aims to widen participation. We encourage applications from all 16-25 year olds and particularly those who may face barriers to engagement in the arts.

Chichester Festival Theatre is committed to equal opportunities, therefore if you need additional support or adjustments made in order to complete your application, please give details.

Please note: Places are limited and subject to availability. We realise this is an exciting opportunity and anticipate that interest to take part will be high. If over subscribed, we will look to offer places to individuals who we feel will benefit most from the experience, using information from your application as a guide.

What is the time commitment?

Three Key Events and a Supporters’ Night make up the core YCC experience:

1. The Director Briefing - this takes place in our rehearsal room usually in the late afternoon on a weekday.

2. Observing a Technical Rehearsal - these usually take place on a weekday afternoon.

3. Observing a Dress Rehearsal - these usually take place on weekday afternoons and sometimes on Saturday mornings.

Invitation to the Supporters’ Night - these take place on a week night during the run of the production at CFT.

Times and dates for these key events relating to your show will be given to you in advance. In order to receive an invitation to the Supporters’ Night, you must attend at least two events. 

Those that gain a place on the YCC will be invited to group meet-up to kick off the experience. This will include a tour of the theatre, an introductory talk on the Commissioning Circles and YCC and a chance to ask questions. These will take place on the following dates and you must be able to attend. Please check your availability prior to applying:

February applicants: Thursday 21 March

June applicants: Thursday 11 July

In addition to the above you will be also be invited to Commissioning Circle Platform Talks with special guests – attendance will not be compulsory but these are often worthwhile experiences.

Download full Commissioning Circle Dates.

What will I learn?

YCC members gain unique insights into how a production at CFT comes together; from the choices a director makes when casting, to the number of people involved in a technical rehearsal. You will have amazing opportunities to see theatre up close, observe the production develop as well as the privilege of watching the actors in rehearsals.

Who will I meet?

As well as those directly involved in the production, like directors, actors and technicians, you will also meet a group of like-minded peers and share the experience with CFT’s Commissioning Circle members, who are long standing supporters of our work on stage.

Do I have to pay?

No. The YCC is generously funded by CFT’s Commissioning Circle members, who donate money to the scheme. Limited travel expenses are available to those who want to participate but might struggle to attend events without this provision.

OK so I don’t have to pay, and I get to see backstage – what’s the catch?

In order to take part, we do ask that you sign an agreement committing to the various event dates. We do our best to assign you to a production which you are available to best attend. We would also like you to share your experience on social media or your own blog, and the agreement will include our social media guidelines.

How do I apply?

Applications for the second half of the season will open on 14 June for two weeks.

If you have any questions at all about the YCC, please call 01243 812874 or email the team

The Young Commissioning Circle is generously supported by the Commissioning and Patrons Circle members of Chichester Festival Theatre