Campaign launched to create a live music venue in Chichester

Toby Wilsher
Toby Wilsher

'A little bit of Brighton in Chichester' - that's what the man behind a campaign for a new community venue in Chichester is aiming to create.

Toby Wilsher, who has worked as a musician and touring theatre director, said the city needed a multi-purpose community performance space that could cater for all tastes and ages.

Possible acts could include everything from cabaret to drum and bass, stand-up comedy, touring theatre, indie bands with space set up for a late night dance venue for DJs or charity events.

He said: "It's about looking at what's currently provided in Chichester for leisure and entertainment and there are many aspects of the city that are not provided for or catered for in terms of their taste in entertainment or things they'd like to do in an of an evening, things that we feel that we could provide.

"So whether it's age groups, music taste, special needs, LGBT communities, it's about making Chichester an attractive place to live for all the people that live here and throughout Chichester district."

He said bands that sold out gigs in Portsmouth or Brighton venues couldn't perform in the city and there was a wide range of local talent that could also benefit from having a usable space.

A Facebook group backing the idea has been set up under Chi LMV for live music venue, and Toby said the suggestion had been supported by Dawn Gracie, whose cabaret shows sold out smaller venues in the area.

Part of the issue he said, was that despite being a university city, Chichester had an image of being older than it was.

"Statistically, Chichester has only one per cent over the national average for people over the age of 65 and it's perceived as being a city comprised of elderly people."

But a community venue could easily host acts for soul or folk music that appealed to people who were of his own generation, he said. "There's a huge market for northern soul acts', he said.

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