Chichester Festival Theatre joins new theatre apprenticeship scheme

Sally Garner-Gibbons & Joe Jenner at Chichester Festival Theatre (contributed pic)Sally Garner-Gibbons & Joe Jenner at Chichester Festival Theatre (contributed pic)
Sally Garner-Gibbons & Joe Jenner at Chichester Festival Theatre (contributed pic)
Chichester Festival Theatre has joined The Mackintosh Foundation’s inaugural Regional Theatre Technical Apprenticeship Programme – one of 13 venues across the UK offering young people a stepping stone into the theatre industry and supporting the next generation of technical theatre professionals.

The programme will fund an apprentice production manager at CFT for two years.

Joe Jenner has been appointed to the role. A former member of CFT’s technical youth theatre, he graduated from Guildford School of Acting in 2018 and has since been working in stage management. In 2021 CFT pioneered a similar apprenticeship, and the original candidate, Lucy Guyver, joined the RSC as an assistant production manager in October, having successfully completed her CFT training. CFT has also partnered with Chichester College Group to create a new apprenticeship coordinator role. Based at CFT, Sally Garner-Gibbons, manager of Creative Industries Apprenticeships at Chichester College Group, will coordinate the Mackintosh Foundation’s Apprenticeship programme as well as offering bespoke training programmes for non-apprenticeship roles in the participating theatres. Sally, who has more than 12 years of experience in teaching, training and mentoring in colleges, university and early careers, as well as over 30 years in technical theatre and live arts, will also support CFT’s ongoing entry and mid-career apprenticeship and traineeship schemes. The other theatres taking part in the programme include Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Curve Leicester, Leeds Playhouse , Nottingham Playhouse, the RSC, Sheffield Theatres and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

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Kathy Bourne, executive director of CFT, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Mackintosh Foundation for its support of a new apprentice production manager and the opportunity to join the UK network of other regional theatres in the scheme. We recognise the challenges of recruitment in the sector and are delighted to be able to contribute to developing new talent to meet the skills gap left by the pandemic.”