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District Dispatch - 21 May 2024

With the bank holiday weekend and half-term holidays nearly upon us, many parents and grandparents will be looking for activities to keep their little ones entertained. I'm pleased to let you know that we have plenty of activities to keep the whole family occupied!

Councillor Jess Brown-Fuller, Cabinet Member for Culture and Events

Our award-winning Chichester Roman Week is back this half-term. Led by our Novium Museum, the week offers a diverse and engaging range of events and activities across the city and surrounding areas, and it will run from Monday 27 May until Saturday 1 June.

The highlight event of the week welcomes leading re-enactment group Legio Secunda Augusta back to Chichester for a 'Romans at the Museum' day on Wednesday 29 May. Taking place at The Novium Museum, the event will bring the Roman period to life with everything from gladiators in combat, to Roman soldiers in action. This immersive event will be free to attend, with donations welcome.

Some special new events have been added to this year's Roman Week, including an interactive storytelling workshop with Chris North, of 'Freedom Through Fun'. Recommended for children aged 5 to 10 years, children will creatively explore what life was like for both Romans and Celts. Using drama, fabrics, musical instruments, artefacts, imagination and fun, participants will be enabled to lift history off the page and immerse themselves in a different and memorable world.

Also new to this year's programme is a unique Roman poetry and music evening, overlooking Chichester's Roman bath house. In collaboration with South Downs Poetry Festival and with thanks to guidance from Armand D'Angour — Professor of Classics at Jesus College, Oxford — a recital of the famous lyric odes by Horace will transport visitors to ancient Rome. Guest poet Timothy Adès will be reading his own translations from Horace and other poets, overlooking the splendid Roman bath house.

Visitors will also be able to experience two mosaic workshops — one for children, and one for adults. Children can create their own 'mosaic masterpiece' using air drying clay, while adults will use paper instead of tiles to create a traditional Roman-style mosaic. A full list of events can be found on the Roman Week (opens new window) webpage. 

While you are there, make sure you don't miss The Novium's 'Dinosaurs: Hungry Hatchlings' exhibition, which showcases how even the largest dinosaurs started life as eggs and tiny hatchlings. Visitors to the 'Dinosaurs: Hungry Hatchlings' exhibition can discover the secrets of dinosaur eggs and babies with amazing dinosaur specimens from around the world. The exhibition will follow iconic dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and Diplodocus on their perilous journey from egg to adult. Skeletons, authentic models, and stunning artworks will bring the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods to life. Tickets cost £5 for adults, £3 for children or £14 for a family of up to five. You can find out more on the Dinosaurs: Hungry Hatchlings (opens new window) webpage.

To tie in with Roman Week, our archaeologist will also be overseeing another Priory Park dig between Tuesday 21 May and Monday 4 June, to further investigate the Roman and medieval remains that lie beneath the park. The dig will be fenced off each day, except on the Sunday, but it will be open to view. Stewards will also be on hand to explain what's going on. Our archaeologist will also be giving some public talks on Saturday 1 June at 10am, midday and 3pm about what has been found.

There are also lots more events and activities that you can find out more on the What's On webpage. This includes details of the city's first ever Chichester Pride parade on Saturday 25 May, which is part of the main Pride Festival taking place at Chichester College on the same day.

We also issue a monthly email newsletter that provides the latest events updates and news from across the district. You can sign up to our email newsletter on our website.

Best Wishes

Cllr Jess Brown-Fuller

Cabinet Member for Culture and Events at Chichester District Council