Cultural celebration gets ready to launch in the Chichester District

A wonderful season of events, performances, live entertainment and community projects will launch in three beautiful heritage sites at the end of March to mark a momentous year of culture in the Chichester District.

Residents and visitors are invited to attend a series of free events to mark the beginning of Culture Spark in Chichester Cathedral at 6.30pm on 29 March; at Medmerry Mill in Selsey at 6.30pm on 30 March; and at The Cowdray Ruins in Midhurst at 6.30pm on 31 March.

Mexican percussionist Alonso Mendoza will kick off the evening with a welcoming drumming introduction on African and Brazilian drums while primary school children, local to each venue, bring their home-made lanterns to light the stage – a prelude to Carnival of Lights in June.

Lila Dance will be premiering Seasoned, their new duet created during lockdown, and Emily Barden brings her 50-strong West Sussex Sings choirs with their fresh take on Tom Odell’s Heal – a hymn to healing together. Acoustic band Big Gust of Wind accompany five exceptional poets while Helen Solly embarks on the creation of her ‘recycled’ sculpture. The evening culminates in a beautiful digital mapping experience by artists and technologists collective MakeAmplify.

Culture Spark 2022 promises to deliver an outstanding calendar of large-scale events and community activities for residents and visitors between March and October, ranging from prestigious cultural premieres to fun filled waterside carnivals, with lots more in between. 

The aim is to give everyone the chance to enjoy or participate in an amazing cultural experience and celebrate multiple milestones of some of the district’s cultural organisations.

Celebrations will be taking place to recognise 60 years of Chichester Festival Theatre; 40 years of Pallant House Gallery; 30 years of Chichester Cinema at New Park’s International Film Festival; 10 years of The Novium Museum and the Festival of Chichester; and even more impressively, 200 years of the Canal Trust! All of the organisations 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 people together to celebrate the district’s rich cultural offering and showcase work by the next generation of local creatives – thanks to initial investment into the project from Chichester District Council, Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery.

Caroline Sharman-Mendoza, Creative co-ordinator, says: “We are very excited to be launching our First Spark events which will kick off an incredible season of culture in the Chichester District.

“Hosted at some of the district’s most stunning heritage sites, these free events have been designed to incorporate key elements of Culture Spark and provide a taste of what’s to come over the spring and summer months. 

“After the First Sparks, people can look forward to an exciting programme including a number of free headline events called ‘Ignite’; a series of lantern processions across the district; and a special photographic exhibition celebrating the many dedicated volunteers in the district’s cultural sector.

“We are also embracing those that already form part of our rich cultural heritage, as well as individual creative artists, by inviting them to join us as ‘Bright Sparks’ and host their own creative events as part of Culture Spark.”

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, says “We are really looking forward to the First Spark events. We have a wealth of talent from across the district coming together in what is set to be a spectacular launch. I know so much effort has gone into this and we hope that our communities will be there to support them.

“Our district is home to a number of internationally renowned cultural organisations which offer a rich and diverse range of cultural and heritage experiences. Culture Spark is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate everything our cultural organisations and partnerships have to offer, and we are excited for all of the events and activities to come.”

The full programme of events can be found at:

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