I am so excited about the new theatre that is opening in Chester later this year. It is a rarity in the current climate for theatres to be opening, it is more common to hear about cuts and downsizing – but here in Chester they are bucking the trend.
As a proud Cestrian theatre-maker and once again a resident of Chester, this is particularly exciting times for me both professionally and personally. I grew up in Chester and as I was reaching my formative years, and deciding to pursue a career in this industry, the Gateway – Chester’s previous theatre – was closing. Now there is an opportunity to give Chester the new cultural space it has been craving.
Since the closure of the Gateway the theatre scene in Chester has far from stagnated. A number of companies have continued to create work in Chester and beyond. Most notably Theatre in The Quarter, who provide their own unique combination of professional new musicals and youth theatre projects, and Chester Performs – the company who established the Open Air Season in the Grosvenor Park and are building the new theatre.
Rebranded now as Storyhouse, Chester Performs opens the new theatre later this year. It is a combination of 800 seat main house, 150 seat studio, independent cinema, library and I assume bars and cafes too. Converting the old Odeon cinema into this exciting new venue it couldn’t have a better location – situated right at the heart of the town centre, a short walk from the new bus station and with parking just near by.
Storyhouse will be a combination of touring productions and 50% in house producing and will be watched very closely I’m sure by all North West theatre makers and companies. I look forward to the unveiling of the first seasons and can’t wait for Chester to have a building to put it back on the cultural map, but most importantly I can’t wait to have a theatre to go to in Chester.