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Cover of Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty

A celebration of Chichester's theatre by the city's most celebrated author

At four minutes to seven on the evening of Tuesday 3rd July 1962, the voice of Laurence Olivier boomed through the foyer of Chichester Festival Theatre asking the first-night audience to take their seats. No one had ever seen a theatre like it – an 'impossible theatre', strikingly modern, concrete and glass, with a vast thrust stage sticking out into the auditorium. And built against all the odds in parkland just outside a small cathedral city in West Sussex.

At seven o'clock, everyone stood for the National Anthem. Then the house lights went down and the opening words of John Fletcher's The Chances were spoken. The CFT story had begun ...

Since then, the roll call of those who’ve played to Chichester reads like a 'Who's Who' of contemporary theatre and film - Ian McKellen, Lauren Bacall, Sam Mendes, Kathleen Turner, Stephen Fry, Derek Jacobi, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud, Diana Rigg, just a handful of the world-class actors and actresses who have walked the stage at CFT over the past fifty years. It’s where the National Theatre company was formed while waiting for its new home on London’s South Bank to be ready; it’s where some of the most important contemporary writing has been showcased - from Lucy Prebble’s Enron to David Hare’s South Downs;it’s where careers have been made and confirmed.

Now you, too, can be part of the history of CFT. The international bestselling novelist and playwright, Kate Mosse – a Chichester girl, born and bred - is writing the anniversary book for CFT’s first half century. Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty is a decade-by-decade celebration, a love letter in words and pictures, based on interviews by many of those who’ve played their part in the enduring success of one of Britain’s most important and best loved theatres.

By pledging your support today, you can see your name printed in the book alongside the great names of stage and screen. You’ll have access to Kate’s shed, be able to keep up-to-date with her progress, and get a taste of dramas on and off the stage, scandals and success, the box office triumphs and one or two productions that didn’t quite come off!

Beautifully designed, it’s the perfect gift book for anyone interested in theatre, film, television. A one-off chance to celebrate the first fifty years of CFT and to look forward to the future.

Kate Mosse is an international best-selling author, playwright, broadcaster and co-founder and Honorary Director of the Orange Prize.

Her novel Labyrinth - the first of her international No 1 bestsellers - has been translated into 38 languages and published in 40 countries. It won the Richard and Judy Best Read Award in 2006 and was selected as one of Waterstone’s Top 25 Novels of the last 25 years. Sepulchre, the second in the series, was also an No 1 international bestseller, as was her novella The Winter Ghosts. Citadel, the third in the Languedoc Trilogy, will be published in September 2012. Her plays are Syrinx and Endpapers, to be performed at the Bush Theatre in October 2011 as part of the series Sixty Six Books and she's working on a major play commission for 2012.

Kate was named European Woman of Achievement for Contribution to the Arts in 2000 and is one of the UK’s most high profile campaigners for literacy and reading.

"Labyrinth is a reader's Holy Grail, mixing legend, religion, history, past and present in a heart-wrenching, thrilling tale. Eat your heart out, Dan Brown, this is the real thing." - Val McDermid

"[Mosse is] a powerful storyteller with an abundant imagination" - Daily Telegraph

"Mosse wears her learning so lightly... In this she is reminiscent of those twin goddesses of popular historical fiction, Jean Plaidy and Mary Renault." - Guardian

This book is a love letter.


Kate Mosse has written 12 private updates. You can Pledge to get access to them all.

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