Culture Spark set to ignite Chichester district arts and community celebration

A season of events, performances, live entertainment and community projects will be held to mark a momentous year of cultural anniversaries in the Chichester district this year.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 12:01 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 12:02 am
Culture Spark

Culture Spark aims to give everyone – including every child in the district - the chance to participate in an “amazing cultural experience.” It also celebrates multiple milestones of some of the district’s cultural organisations.

2022 will mark 60 years of Chichester Festival Theatre; ten years of the Festival of Chichester; 40 years of Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery; 30 years of Chichester Cinema at New Park’s international film festival; ten years of The Novium Museum; and 200 years of the Canal Trust. Each organisation will be holding their own exciting events as part of the season to mark this special year.

Inspired by the anniversaries, Culture Spark will also bring together a wide variety of community groups, individuals, the university, colleges and schools from across the district to celebrate Chichester’s rich cultural offering. It will showcase work by the next generation of local creatives and reach into the community to give everyone a chance to participate – thanks to initial investment into the project from Chichester District Council, Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery.

Caroline Sharman-Mendoza, creative co-ordinator, said: ‘Culture Spark heralds a wonderful opportunity to harness the extraordinary supply of local talent and community spirit in our part of West Sussex. We also hope to animate our town centres and draw in visitors from further afield with a number of free, headline events called ‘Ignite!’

“We are embracing those that already form part of our rich cultural heritage such as the summer festival in Petworth, Denmans Garden, The Weald and Downland Living Museum and individual creative artists by inviting them to join us as Bright Sparks. Working together, we can help grow our cultural legacy for the future.

“Events will take place up and down the district, from March to October, starting with First Spark! in Chichester, Midhurst and on the Manhood peninsular which promises teasing cultural tasters of what is to come.

“People can look forward to the Carnival of Lights event which will take place on the evening of Friday, June 10. This will involve a grand parade of lanterns created by local schools, groups and artists from across the Chichester district, moving through the streets of central Chichester to the Canal Basin for a waterside extravaganza of music and dance, culminating in a canal-side festival of food.

“Other lantern parades, events and festivities will take place in Petworth, the Witterings, Midhurst and elsewhere across the district later in the summer as Homecoming Light events with further music and festive celebration.

“A special photographic exhibition We the People will also be held to celebrate the generosity and commitment of the many volunteers who devote vital time and expertise to the district’s cultural organisations and events.

“Led by Chichester College’s photography and media students, the exhibition will open at Petworth House during Volunteer Week. It will then tour around the district and will be displayed at Midhurst Old Library, Chichester Cathedral and the Witterings. Each photographic panel will be accompanied by audio interviews with the volunteers about their work.”

Cllr Roy Briscoe, cabinet member for community services and culture at Chichester District Council, said: “These events are just a taster of what is to come.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate what our cultural organisations and partnerships offer. We are so lucky to live in a location that has such a rich and diverse offering of cultural and heritage experiences, as well as internationally renowned organisations. After what has been has been a very challenging couple of years, we are hoping that these events will bring a spark of excitement to the district.”

If you would like to be a Bright Spark and host your own creative event as part of Culture Spark, contact [email protected]

The full programme will be announced later this spring. For more information, visit www.thegreatsussexway.org/culture-spark-2022/