Chichester Festival Theatre

Overview

Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the UK’s flagship theatres, renowned for the exceptionally high standard of its productions as well as its work with the community and young people. Situated in a cathedral city in West Sussex between the South Downs and the sea, the Festival Theatre’s bold thrust stage design makes it one of England’s most striking playhouses – equally suited to epic drama and musicals. Its studio theatre, the Minerva, is particularly noted for premieres of new work alongside intimate revivals. CFT wants everyone to be able to access and enjoy live entertainment, drama, music and dance, and is committed to ensuring that everyone’s needs are met in order to enjoy the best possible experience.
  • Creadble provider: NO
  • Creadble access: NO
  • Creadble employer: NO

Access Card Notes

CFT offers a range of performances and facilities to improve your visit and enjoyment of our productions. These include: Signed performances are British Sign Language interpreted for people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Stagetext captioned performances convert sung or spoken words into text on a screen, for people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Audio described performances offer live narration over discreet headphones for people who are blind or visually impaired. Touch tours enable blind or visually impaired people to explore the set before audio described performances. Relaxed performances welcome individuals, groups and families with children on the autism spectrum, with sensory and communication disorders, or a learning disability or anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed theatre environment. For dates please check the diary pages in the latest brochure or visit cft.org.uk/access-performances If you have access requirements or want to book tickets with an access discount, please join the Access List. To register, visit cft.org.uk/access

Contact details

Chichester Festival Theatre Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Park, Chichester, West Sussex, South East, PO19 6AP
Phone: 01243 781312

Standing and Queueing

Standing
Both Theatres are fully accessible and we offer a range of access performances and services. Festival Theatre
Opens from 10am – 8pm Monday to Saturday (6pm on non show days). There is a level access from the main entrance. The Box Office has a lowered counter for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.

From the entrance, the Bar and Box Office are directly ahead, The Café is to the right, and the Foyle Terrace is on the left.

Cloakrooms are situated either side of the foyer upon entering the main doors and open around 45minutes before the performance. You can leave coats, umbrellas and large bags with the Front of House staff.

The auditorium is above the foyer area. There are a minimum of 16 steps from the foyer to row A in the auditorium. Most staircases are fitted with handrails including some inside the auditorium. The steps inside the auditorium are small and shallow.

If you require step free access, there are lifts situated by The Café (right of the main entrance), and the Foyle Terrace (left of main entrance), which are manned by Front of House staff from approximately 30 minutes before performances. Certain seats are more easily accessible from the lifts than others.

Box Office and Front of House staff can advise customers of the best route to their seats at the time of booking or when arriving for the performance.

Minerva Theatre
The Minerva Theatre building opens one hour prior to each performance. It is accessible by a dropped kerb. The Box Office is on the ground floor on the left of the staircase; The Brasserie restaurant is on the right and the Minerva Bar and Grill is on the first floor on the right.

The auditorium is on the first floor and has only one entrance. This is accessible by a lift in from the foyer or by ascending 17 steps. The front row is on stage level; access to all other rows involves climbing steeply raked stairs. The seating blocks are flexible, and can move slightly underfoot.

Box Office and Front of House staff can advise customers of the best route to their seats at the time of booking or when arriving for the performance.

There is no specific cloakroom in the Minerva but you can leave coats and umbrellas in the Minerva Bar and Grill and large bags can be left with the Front of House staff at the entrance to the auditorium.

The Steven Pimlott Building
There is level access and facilities include an accessible lift and toilet.

Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair access
There are 16 wheelchair spaces in the Festival Theatre over two levels, with accessible lifts either side of the auditorium. Two wheelchair spaces are available in the Minerva Theatre. These seats are bookable by calling or emailing the Box Office; if you are an Access Member of Chichester Festival Theatre they can also be booked online. Additional seating can be provided for a companion.

We regret that, in accordance with the theatre licence, customers may not transfer from a wheelchair to a theatre seat inside the auditorium without the prior consent of the House Manager.

We have wheelchairs available to borrow, subject to availability; please reserve in advance with the Box Office or House Manager.

Our Learning, Education and Participation team provide a number of classes and events young people and adults with disabilities.

Mobility vehicles
We understand that some of our customers have limited mobility and may need some assistance during their visit to the theatre.

Walking sticks, crutches and walking aids can be taken into both theatres but we regret that we cannot permit any equipment that will not fit safely under the seats to remain in the auditorium. An area is provided for the storage of this equipment; we cannot guarantee that staff will be available to retrieve equipment at the end of the performance - please plan accordingly.

Whilst we will always try to assist in any way we can, access is restricted in some areas of our buildings. The Box Office and Front of House staff are trained in accessibility and are on hand to answer any questions.

Short Distances

Short distance
There is a 'drop off' area in front of the Festival Theatre which can be accessed from the Broyle Road entrance. Visit our Getting Here page.

Please note that, due to health and safety reasons, our staff are unable to assist disabled patrons in and out of their transport or mobility equipment.

Chichester District Council’s Northgate Car Park is an 800-space pay and display car park next to the Theatre (free after 8pm). On matinee days, the car park is very busy, so please allow plenty of time. chichester.gov.uk/parking

Blue Badge holders can park anywhere in Northgate Car Park free of charge. There are 9 non-reservable spaces close to the Theatre entrance.


Festival Theatre
The auditorium is above the foyer area. There are a minimum of 16 steps from the foyer to row A in the auditorium. Most staircases are fitted with handrails including some inside the auditorium. The steps inside the auditorium are small and shallow.

If you require step free access, there are lifts situated by The Café (right of the main entrance), and the Foyle Terrace (left of main entrance), which are manned by Front of House staff from approximately 30 minutes before performances. Certain seats are more easily accessible from the lifts than others.

Box Office and Front of House staff can advise customers of the best route to their seats at the time of booking or when arriving for the performance.

Minerva Theatre
The auditorium is on the first floor and has only one entrance. This is accessible by a lift in from the foyer or by ascending 17 steps. The front row is on stage level; access to all other rows involves climbing steeply raked stairs. The seating blocks are flexible, and can move slightly underfoot.

Box Office and Front of House staff can advise customers of the best route to their seats at the time of booking or when arriving for the performance.

There is no specific cloakroom in the Minerva but you can leave coats and umbrellas in the Minerva Bar and Grill and large bags can be left with the Front of House staff at the entrance to the auditorium.

The Steven Pimlott Building
There is level access and facilities include an accessible lift and toilet.

Access To Toilets

Access To Toilets
Both theatres have accessible toilets. These are located by The Café and Foyle Terrace in the Festival Theatre (there is also an accessible toilet located within the auditorium on the first floor on one side only) and on the ground and first floor of the Minerva Theatre.

There are ambulant cubicles in each of the ladies and gents facilities in both theatres.

Assistance Dogs

Assistance Dogs
Hearing and guide dogs are welcome in both theatres, but please inform the Box Office when booking as spaces are limited. For customers not wishing to take their dog into the auditorium, theatre staff are available to ensure they are well looked after during the performance.

Essential Companions

Essential Companions
If you require continual supervision or assistance during your visit you may be eligible for a discounted Essential Companion ticket. The companion must be able to help the disabled person access the theatre and its facilities, remaining with them to ensure their wellbeing and comfort. All tickets are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Accessing Visual Information

Accessing Visual Information
Running times and performance information is available on a recorded phone message or via the Box Office. Please call 01243 781312 for more details.

Braille is available on all row ends and numbers on individual seats in the Festival Theatre. Braille and large print cast lists are available for all Festival productions.

We are able to provide seasonal brochures in large print and on audio CD upon request. Audio brochures are also available on our YouTube andSoundcloud channels. Please email access@cft.org.uk for more information.

Audio described performances make productions more accessible to blind and visually impaired people by explaining what is happening on stage using the gaps in dialogue. Listen to live narration from a friendly voice through headphones often including changes of location, actions, facial expressions and gestures, giving context and setting the scene. The description is fitted between dialogue to avoid interrupting the flow of the production. Using headphones means the performance is unaffected and suitable for all.

Free headsets are available at the cloakrooms in the Festival Theatre and outside the Minerva Theatre auditorium.

If you are unable to attend on these dates, we may be able to arrange an alternative; please contact the House Manager for more information.

Touch Tours enable customers to explore the set, props and costumes used within specific productions. These take place 90 minutes before a described performance and last approximately 30 minutes. We also offer customers the chance to explore the theatres, although some backstage areas are inaccessible due to the nature of the buildings.

Touch tours can be booked online, subject to availability.

Accessing Audible Information

Accessing Audible Information
Free Sennheiser listening units are available for all performances or switch your hearing aid to ‘T’ to use the induction loop in both Theatres and both Box Offices.

Collect the units from the Cloakroom in the Festival Theatre and from Front of House staff outside the Minerva Theatre auditorium. Seat numbers will be required upon collection.

There is a limited number of units, available on a first come first served basis.

Signed performances help D/deaf people enjoy theatre performances. A British Sign Language interpreter stands on or at the side of the stage. They interpret the spoken word and sound effects for audience members who use BSL. Available in the Festival Theatre on selected dates during the year indicated in the season brochure, online access performance page and show web pages.

Stagetext captioned performances are for people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing, or for those for whom English is not their first language. Captioning converts words into text that appears on a screen above or to the side of the stage, or on an individual tablet at the same time as they are sung or spoken. For more information see stagetext.org

Many of our pre-show talks are recorded and shared on YouTube. These are transcribed by volunteers; subtitles/closed captioning can be selected on each individual video.

We are in the process of transcribing our Podcast series. All future Podcasts will be transcribed and we will then work on the archive.