"An immersive digitally led adventure"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 21/08/19

Chichester Festival Theatre’s acclaimed youth theatre are currently staging a digitally led promenade production around the historic city of Chichester. Twelve months ago a group of young members from the theatre company were given the challenge to come up with ideas to incorporate three different war time settings for an audio led promenade production around the city. Writer in residence Anna Ledwich was tasked with the assignment of producing a script from the youngster’s suggestions and the result is – “Crossing Lines”. This unusually conceived world premiere is taking place through the streets of Chichester with settings around the 900 year old cathedral, award-winning Novium Museum, Pallant House Gallery and the tranquil Bishops Palace gardens. In the past Anna has assisted both Rupert Goold and Richard Eyre at the CFT and was co Artistic Director of Chichester’s highly successful Theatre on the Fly back in 2012. She has also directed a site specific production in the underground tunnels of Bristol’s Temple Meads station.
This outdoor production is directed by freelance director Daniel Hill himself a former member of CFYT. Wearing headsets with an eclectic soundtrack of music singing and shipping forecasts, the audience follow on foot led to each location by a trio of Companions.

Initially all congregate on the cathedral green as war looms in 1914. The community have come together to support the brave young men fighting for our freedom. The stories connect the threats to liberty in 1914, 1939 and 2019 with many localised references. In a bid to escape the dark forces of war, traitors, invasion, displacement, conflict and rebellion the airwaves are seen as the only secure route. The Companions are given the mission of leading the people to safety, however, can the audio technology be trusted or has it been infiltrated……

Designer Ryan Dawson Laight has excelled with some wonderfully innovative and curious costumes and a spectacularly whimsical and weird final scene colourfully lit amongst the trees as darkness falls - a strangely magical visual treat.
Accomplished and creative story telling from this fledgling cast of 47 with some notable performances and in particular from Ellie Bradbury Josh Lovell-Knight and Robert McCloskey with an outstanding scene from Anthony Harvey (Harry) and Alex Web (German POW) in the more intimate setting of the cathedral cloisters.

Despite a certain lack of dramatic tension in the streets this imaginative theatrical trail is an impressive showcase for the cast of young actors.

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