Immersive theatre fun will bring Chichester's Roman history alive

Katie Bennett is producing and directing a new piece of immersive theatre for family audiences as part of The Novium Museum’s annual Chichester Roman Week festival.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 9:05 am
Dr Callisto played by Amelia Stephenson - Ministry of Time

The Ministry of Time will be on Monday, May 31 with show start times staggered throughout the day. The first show is 12 noon; the last show is 6.30pm.

Written by Amelia Stephenson and with music by Charlotte Glasson, the cast is Lily Barkes Matt Hansen, Martin Jakeman, Amelia Stephenson, Ralph Oakley, Megan O’Hara, Michael Thomas and Alex Webb

“The Novium Museum is now a site of scientific interest and we need your help to close the time schism before the timeline is altered and history will never be the same!” Katie says.

“If I wasn’t directing and producing it, then I’d want to come along! I feel ever so lucky to be creating new work after the year we’ve all experienced. Earlier this year, The Novium Museum commissioned me to produce a new piece of immersive theatre for a family audience to form a key part of their annual Chichester Roman Week festival, which runs throughout May half term.

“The museum hasn’t been home to an immersive promenade production like this before which gives us many challenges but also lots of exciting freedom to explore the audience experience.

“As soon as you enter the building, your immersive journey will begin.

“The museum is not just for you to wander around, but you’ll be encountering parts of Chichester’s Roman history coming to life!

“Think Night at The Museum crossed with Doctor Who; I think we hit the sweet spot in the middle.

“Sprinkled with humour, history and the odd intense moment, the stakes are kept high for the audience as it is their duty to report back to Dr Callisto and help save the day.

“I don’t want to reveal too much but we have a fantastic writer Amelia Stephenson who has co-created the show with me.

“We’ve explored Chichester’s Roman history in such a unique way.

“The beautiful script is all down to her. Amelia has a talent for creating enjoyable scenes that are peppered with history, so you are learning a lot but not consciously realising it. When you want to engage families, I think this is key.

“Our rehearsals have all been online.

“Rehearsing virtually can be hard but the actors are fabulous, and it’s been great to see them all bringing their characters to life.

“I am always keen to see what opportunities we can include for young performers to help build their experience, so we have also been able to offer roles to two Chichester Festival Youth Theatre students as well as a new graduate actor Ralph Oakley.

“It’s important to realise that theatre doesn’t have to be confined to a stage. There are opportunities for performances everywhere you turn. Museums are no different. You can explore a wealth of history in a production like this and it can engage with a new audience. Ultimately, by creating a unique production like The Ministry of Time I’d love to encourage young actors to create their own work, think outside the box and always think big!

“If you want to come and experience The Ministry of Time you can book via The Novium Museum website. Booking in advance is essential due to the immersive nature of the production and limited capacity.

“We have such a great team at The Novium Museum and without their encouragement and support I would never have felt creating a show like The Ministry of Time could even be possible.

“I must also thank Arts Council England which is funding Chichester Roman Week, making all our events possible.

“Full details about The Ministry of Time and Chichester Roman Week 2021 can be found on The Novium Museum’s website.

“There is so much planned, from virtual talks, craft sessions and a Roman treasure hunt to a new writing Scratch Night.

“Visit the website for more info: www.thenovium.org/romanweek and with The Novium reopening (on May 18), there certainly is a lot to look forward to!”