Chichester Festival Theatre celebrates topping out

Chichester Festival Theatre reached a significant milestone in its RENEW redevelopment project with a ‘topping out’ ceremony on Friday 13 September, joined by the Neville’s Island cast.

Ade Edmondson, who plays Gordon in the Festival 2013 production currently playing at Theatre in the Park, christened the scene dock wall in the backstage area of the Festival Theatre. He was joined by fellow actors Rufus Hound and Tim McMullan at the ceremony, as well as staff from the Festival Theatre and Osborne, the main building contractors for the RENEW project.

Chichester Topping Out

‘Topping out’ is a traditional building ceremony that takes place when a project reaches the highest point of a build, or the laying of the final brick.

Alan Finch, Executive Director for Chichester Festival Theatre, said: “We are delighted to reach this landmark in the redevelopment, which is testimony to the hard work and commitment of Osborne, who have worked tirelessly during the last year. We look forward to welcoming our audiences back to the Festival Theatre next year, so that they can benefit from the significant improvements being made.”

“It’s wonderful to have come this far and we greatly appreciate the support received from the local community. However we still need to raise £600,000 to complete the redevelopment in time for Festival 2014 and would urge anyone who is yet to make a donate to consider doing so.”

Andrew Osborne, the Chairman of Osborne, said: “My first experience of theatre was being taken to Chichester Festival Theatre by my parents, an event I have happily repeated with my own children. We are delighted and privileged to help renew and revitalise this unique and iconic building.”

The £22 million redevelopment, which began in October 2012, incorporates essential repairs to the Grade II* listed Festival Theatre, a new extension, increased seating capacity, improved access and public facilities, improved backstage facilities and changes to make the building more energy efficient.