So what makes Chichester special?

Chichester itself will be celebrated at a special panel event for the Festival of Chichester.


City-based bestselling-author Kate Mosse is hosting an evening of words and music entitled Why Chichester? - What Chichester Means to Me in collaboration with Chichester Area Talking News (CATN) at the Pallant Suite, 7 South Pallant on the opening day of the Festival, Saturday, June 14 at 7.30pm.

The evening is part of CATN’s celebration of the 1000th edition, in August this year, of their fortnightly news programme for the area’s blind and partially-sighted listeners.

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With guests representing various aspects of life in the city and surrounding area, the entertainment will take the form of a chat show along with musical contributions by students from the University of Chichester and various items of prose and poetry reflecting life in the city.


The evening will open with an announcement from Richard Plowman, Chichester city’s town crier, followed by master of ceremonies Chris Doman who will introduce the evening’s host, Kate Mosse.

Contributors range across science, the arts, social life, the youth of the area, politics, history, the natural world and the city’s links with France; but, as with all good conversation, the scope is limitless.

Those taking part in the conversation will be: Dale Rooks, Youth Theatre director at the Festival Theatre; John Mason, from the Chichester Planetarium; Richard Williamson, naturalist and Observer writer; Lois Peake, riding high in UK junior table tennis; Martyn Bell, current chairman of the Chichester District Council; Sue Livett, managing director of the Aldingbourne Trust; and Alan Thurlow, former Organist and master of the choristers at Chichester Cathedral.

Musical entertainment comes from saxophone quartet Autumn Reeds who will be playing swing and jazz-influenced numbers, and for classical fans, violinist Mariana Rotaru will perform an arrangement of the music from Bizet’s Carmen specially written by Crispin Ward.

Chichester Area Talking News spokesman Geoff Farrell said the idea was to get people to talk with passion about a favourite Chichester view, a favourite Chichester place, a favourite Chichester experience.

“When I put the idea to my colleagues I said it must be personal and passionate.”

Selecting the speakers was a group affair, with various members of the committee suggesting various names.

“We then put those names against the criteria we had and also tried to make sure there was no overlapping and there was a mixture of styles.

“It was a bit like trying to organise a rather good dinner party! It was one of those ideas I could just see all the way through.”

Chichester Area Talking News will record the evening and use it as part of their celebrations for their 1000th edition at the end of August.

“I just thought it would be a great idea to get local Chichester people to talk about what makes Chichester so special for them.

“We also knew we had to get people who were able to speak (in public), and not everyone can. I think we have got together a really good panel.”

Tickets cost £10 and are available now from the ticket office at the Cloisters Shop at the Cathedral or you can phone 01243 813595 or online at