Test your knowledge of theatre!

Distinguished theatre director Roger Redfarn is hoping to lift spirits a little in the theatre world with a fun online quiz for the 2020 Virtual Festival of Chichester.

Roger Redfarn by Rosey Purchase
Roger Redfarn by Rosey Purchase

The festival has gone online this year, and Roger, one of the festival’s founders, is delighted to contribute to it in a hugely difficult year for the performing arts.

Roger is also the founder of Chichester Community Theatre, a group which was due to offer Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues for this year’s festival.

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Instead, Roger has come up with a quiz to test your theatrical knowledge.

The quiz will be going live on Monday, June 22, but as a little sneak preview, you might like to ponder: Whose first London production of Anything Goes closed after only two weeks in 1969?

Do you know which great English actor said “The most precious things in speech are pauses”? And closer to home, do you know which play opened Chichester Festival Theatre?

All will be revealed on the night. The virtual festival’s events are being posted on:

The day’s events are added at 7pm ready to be enjoyed at the traditional event time of 7.30pm.

“There are 50 questions. Some of them relate to the Festival Theatre, but really they cover the history of British theatre. They go right back, and there is also a certain amount of European and American theatre. It is all quite wide-ranging! And it was good fun to do. I have never done a quiz before!”

It will certainly lighten the mood at a time when Roger, who has a host of CFT credits to his name, can find few reasons to be optimistic for the theatre in general.

“I think one of the big problems is going to be the attitude of the audiences. I think it will be a long time before they are going to want to sit closely together in a crowded indoor space. You can leave every other seat empty and have the row in front of you empty and the row behind you empty, but that is not going to be viable.”

It is heartbreaking too for the young drama students just finishing their training – with absolutely no work to go to: “And if you are a jobbing actor, you must be wondering when you are next going to work at all.”

And it is not just the actors: “It is the agents and the stage designers and the directors and the wardrobe.

“There are thousands of people who back the actors up. One or two theatres are saying they are going to have Christmas shows; others are saying they won’t. It is very, very difficult.

“There are people leaving the profession, but most theatre people don’t have a second string to their bow. They don’t have other things that they can do, and that is a big worry.”

As for the venues, Roger points out that the big West End theatres are still having to pay rent on lighting and sound equipment which has been unused for months now.

Roger suspects that some of the smaller theatres around simply won’t be able to re-open “unless people try to rally around them and have local support and start to raise money for them. But there has to come a point where the government can’t just keep on spending money… because we are going to have to pay it back one day. It is eerie. It is strange. I am really not feeling very optimistic about theatres opening…”


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