Gala celebration of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre coming up

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre joins the CFT’s 60th anniversary celebrations with its very own gala show.
Dale Rooks (C) Richard GibbonsDale Rooks (C) Richard Gibbons
Dale Rooks (C) Richard Gibbons

CFYT Celebrates will be on Sunday, July 31 at 3pm, bringing together past and present members with all the proceeds going to support Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

It will be directed by Dale Rooks and Hannah Hogg, offering a celebratory showcase of singing, dancing and performance, interspersed with conversations and short interviews with current and past CFYT members.

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Dale, who is LEAP and youth theatre director at the theatre, said: “We were really keen to celebrate the youth theatre as part of the 60th anniversary because the youth theatre is such an integral feature of the theatre here.

"This is a chance to celebrate the youth theatre's extraordinary success and its extraordinary talents with both past and present members of the youth theatre coming together.

"We've been trying to get as many members as possible to come along.

"There will be about 75 performers on the stage and that will be a mix of current members and some of our alumni.”

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Dale added: “There is very little documentation of the early youth theatre in our actual archives but a youth theatre member created a book about the story of the youth theatre.

"Sadly that member died when he was quite young but his brother gave us the book and it suggests that the fledgling youth theatre was born in 1985.

"However prior to that in 1983 there were storytelling sessions in the foyer and in the tent and that was conceived by John Gale. Kate Vaughan came on board in 1985 and she started to run a summer school with all the resources is in the boot of her car!”

Andy Brereton became youth theatre director. Dale joined him as assistant youth theatre director in 2002. She was then appointed youth theatre director in 2004. However, her connections with the youth theatre go back to the mid 90s. She directed her first big show with them in 1999.

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“Because my job has changed so many times in all that time I think I've always had this feeling of aspiring to more but I think the really lovely thing is that the youth theatre just feels like more than a youth theatre.

"It feels like a theatre family and I do follow them when they leave the youth theatre and it is lovely to see the many different roles that they take on.

"To know them when they were ten and to still be in touch when they are 30 is really great, and so many of them have gone on to so many different and interesting things.

“The show will be a combination of singing and dancing and also interviews with various people.

"There will be some ensemble singing with the current youth theatre members and also our alumni will be joining us.”

Tickets from the CFT.