The Chester blog

Liverpool Theatre Festival returns

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Liverpool Theatre Festival returns next week with an exciting line-up to celebrate and showcase the region’s performing and creative arts talent.  The festival runs between Wednesday 1 September and Sunday 12 September 2021, and is once again being staged at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church in Liverpool city centre. 

The outdoor live event is back for its second year and organisers are delighted to present a programme which features 23 performances of 16 shows across 12 days. 

Liverpool Theatre Festival was created by Liverpool theatre producer Bill Elms, and was first staged in September 2020 to help support the city’s creative arts industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. The event won praise from audiences and critics alike, and returns bigger for 2021. New for this year, seven-day fringe event Little LTF was staged in July to champion and showcase new works and talent, attracting 1,200 festivalgoers. 

Producer and artistic director Bill Elms commented: “Audiences welcomed Liverpool Theatre Festival last year at a time when faith, hope and laughter was much needed. They put their trust in us to provide live entertainment in a safe environment, and their incredible support has played a huge part in bringing the festival back this year, as well as introducing new works showcase and fringe festival Little LTF in July. 

“Next week the curtain rises on the second annual Liverpool Theatre Festival and we are truly excited to be back for 12 days – we’re looking forward to seeing returning festivalgoers, and those coming to experience the event for the first time. We’ve created a diverse and fun programme, bursting with massively talented performers and inspiring creatives who will entertain young and old through 16 fantastic shows spanning 23 performances. Music, comedy, drama, and family shows, we’ve ensured there is something for everyone.” 

Liverpool Theatre Festival is funded by Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool, sponsored by Falconer Chester Hall, and supported by Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres and dBS Solutions. 

The festival will adhere to any Covid-19 and Government guidelines required at the time. 

2GORGEOUS4U – FROM LADETTE TO LAUNDRETTE is on Wednesday 1 September, with performances at 5pm and 8pm. Running time 70 minutes no interval. 

Packed with laughter, throw backs to the Nineties, and a soundtrack guaranteed to bring back memories of the decade featuring Queen Latifa, Blur, Gabrielle, and KKlass. Written by acclaimed Liverpool playwright Mark Davies Markham, the production stars Lynne Fitzgerald (Two, Bunty The Bouncer, The Desperate Scousewives), with James Baker directing (Jerry Springer The Opera, Yank). Clare is a beautician with her own spa and treatment room in Waterloo. Back in the Britpop 1990s, Clare was one half of a pop duo 2Gorgeous4U with her best mate Tina, but they fell out. Find out what happens when they’re asked to reform for a music festival in their hometown of Liverpool. 

PERFECTLY FRANK is on Thursday 2 September at 7.30pm. The show runs for two hours 20 minutes including interval. 

David Knopov keeps the swing of Sinatra alive through his show, Perfectly Frank. Seen on BBC’s The One And Only, the show is believed to be one of the most successful Frank Sinatra tributes around. Liverpool’s David Knopov has entertained a global audience with his Sinatra act for more than 30 years – including a performance for Queen Elizabeth II during the Golden Jubilee celebrations. Celebrity fans also include actors Bill Nighy and Dawn French. 

THE LAST FIVE YEARS is on Friday 3 September 2021, with performances at 5pm and 8pm. Running time 75 minutes no interval.  

Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical, The Last Five Years, is an intimate look at the relationship between two New Yorkers – an actress and a writer, who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The musical’s unconventional structure pulls the audience in opposite directions with Cathy’s story unfolding in reverse from the end of their turbulent relationship, while Jamie tells his story chronologically from the spark of their initial meeting, taking audiences on an emotional rollercoaster through the joyous and the tragic. Presented by Tread Productions, it stars real-life married couple Helen Noble (Hollyoaks) and Graham Tudor (West End leading actor), directed by Iestyn Arwel, with musical supervision by Jordan Alexander. 

WHEN ANOTHER DRAGON ROARS is on Saturday 4 September at 11.30am. The show runs for 45 minutes no interval. 

The show fuses Altered Scale’s outstanding puppetry with Petite Ullaloom’s unique storytelling style, and is directed by Kevin Dyer. Alfie and his Mum are going camping to get away from everything – and to spend some quality time together. Alfie finds it hard to talk, his Mum does too. They share stories about dragons – scary ones, sulky ones, angry ones, and funny ones. They discover that emotions, like dragons, are tricky beasts. Sometimes they need to be tamed, sometimes they need to be released. Told with charm and humour, this is a thoughtful and heart-warming show for children and adults alike. 

EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT MUSICALS is on Saturday 4 September 2021, with performances at 6pm and 8.30pm. Running time 75 minutes no interval. 

The cast of this vibrant and electrifying show includesMarcus Collins (X Factor, Hairspray, Kinky Boots), Chloe Taylor (Mamma Mia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wicked), Craig Ryder (Bat Out Of Hell, We Will Rock You, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert), and Gillian Hardie (Blood Brothers, Bad Girls The Musical, Macbeth), joined by an ensemble cast from Liverpool Theatre School. Pearson Theatre Productions and Curtis Productions collaborate for the first time to present this fabulous night of musical theatre with performances from West End shows such as Kinky Boots, SIX The Musical, Mamma Mia, and &Juliet. 

BOING…MEOW! THE MUSICAL on Sunday 5 September at 11.30am. Running time 50 minutes no interval. 

This musical adaptation of new children’s book Boing…Meow! comes from Asa Murphy, the writer of The Monkey With No Bum book and stage production, which was recently premiered at Little LTF. Sam Conlonwill play Auntie May, with Asa Murphymaking an appearance playing the rap cat, Moggy D. Stanley is a cat, and this is his story searching for the perfect place to sleep. There is nothing in this world that Auntie May loves more than her ginger cat Stanley – but like all cats, Stanley loves to go wondering around the local neighbourhood looking for the best and most comfortable place to have his afternoon nap. 

ELECTRIC DREAMS is on Sunday 5 September 2021, with performances at 4pm and 8pm. Running time two hours 10 mins including interval.  

A Place for Us Theatre Company present this 1980s outdoor musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The show was originally produced in partnership with Norton Priory Museum & Gardens in June on the ancient ruins to sell-out audiences, as part of its Igniting Imaginations programme. A spectacular musical theatre event. Set against an awesome eighties inspired soundtrack, the cast features West End stars Zoe Curlett and Keiron Crook as the warring Queen and King of the Fairies, joined by a professional cast, live band, and young performers embarking on their journey into the performing arts industry. 

AN EVENING WITHOUT KATE BUSH is on Monday 6 September 2021 at 7.30pm. The show runs for two hours including interval. 

Acclaimed performer Sarah-Louise Young has teamed up with theatremaker Russell Lucas to explore the music and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music. The show is produced by John Mackay. The show has already wowed Edinburgh Fringe Festival audiences and critics, and now comes to Liverpool as a guest visiting production during a national tour before it heads to the capital for a London run in early 2022. With a career spanning five decades, Kate Bush’s fascinating story goes from releasing Wuthering Heights aged 19, to selling out the Hammersmith Apollo almost 40 years later. Celebrate her ground-breaking music through this critically acclaimed chaotic cabaret cult show. 

TWICE NIGHTLY is on Tuesday 7 September at 7.30pm. Running time 70 minutes no interval. 

After a successful premiere at Little LTF in July, Twice Nightly is back. Organisers and critics were so impressed by the quality of writing and story of the show, highlighting Liverpool’s lost theatres of the 1930s. The show is written, stars and is directed by Michael Alan Bailey and Maria Lovelady. Roy Carruthers and the voice of Eithne Brown also feature, with music and original score by Jessica Dives. It’s 1931 and variety is the spice of life. Liverpool’s theatres are sizzling with the hottest music hall acts of the day. Song and dance double act Don and Madge are living the sweet life, until things turn sour. A night they can’t remember finds them in hot water. 

SWAN SONG is on Wednesday 8 September at 7.30pm. Running time 70 minutes no interval. 

After a hugely successful premiere at last year’s Liverpool Theatre Festival, Swan Song is back due to popular demand. The one-man comedy play is written by multi award winning Jonathan Harvey, stars Liverpool television and stage actor Andrew Lancel, and is directed by BAFTA award winning Noreen Kershaw.It is Liverpool 1997, the world is changing, and in the staff room gay 40-something English teacher Dave Titswell finds that not all change is welcome. He has a crush, but life, love, and work are never straight-forward. Jonathan Harvey adapted the play specially for Liverpool Theatre Festival for Andrew Lancel to play the solo role. After a successful tour of the North West of England, it’s back in Liverpool. 

OPERA BENEATH THE STARS is on Thursday 9 September 2021 at 7.30pm. Running time two hours including interval.  

Absolute Opera present a stunning evening of sublime operatic and classical hits. The show stars national and international performers, with Tenor Roy Locke (Opera Australia), Soprano Leigh Rhianon Coggins (Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company), and Mezzo Soprano Lilly Papaioannou (Glyndebourne). With live piano accompaniment, this enchanting gala evening will feature the most well-loved and popular songs from Grand Opera, Operetta, Neapolitan Song, modern classical and musical hits, all performed by world-class performers in beautiful evening wear. Suitable for opera lovers and newcomers to opera alike. 

BROKEN BISCUITS is on Friday 10 September 2021, with performances are at 6pm and 8.30pm. Running time 60 minutes no interval. 

Rita and Maggie were lifelong friends until a devastating tragedy shattered both their lives and their friendship, with emotions high things may be taking a turn for the worst. Friendship, love, laughter, sadness, and hope are all at the centre of this touching story. The cast is Catherine Rice plays Maggie, Leanne Martin as Rita, and Louise Garcia as Molly.Broken Biscuits is returning to the stage after sell-out performances around Liverpool theatres and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  

TWELFTH NIGHT BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE is on Saturday 11 September at 1pm. Running time is two hours including interval. 

Presented by The Boaty Theatre Company, this is a swashbuckling adventure of love, life, and mistaken identity. When a devastating storm separates and shipwrecks twins Olivia and Sebastian, they must do their best to carve out a new life in a strange land, each believing the other twin has perished. Olivia is the young Governess of Illyria island, but the pirates are thriving – led by Captain Orsina they are over-running the port and controlling the town. Featuring a live pirate band, a fearsome yet lovable Pirate Queen, and a fool or two, the production promises family fun as The Boaty Theatre Company breathes new life into one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies. 

LAUGHTERHOUSE COMEDY presents two shows back-to-back as a Saturday night double bill on 11 September at 6pm and 8.30pm. 

Laughterhouse are Liverpool’s longest running comedy club. They have been bringing the very best in live comedy to audiences across the UK for 15 years. They know exactly what makes a perfect evening of stand-up and have built their business as comedy fans, knowing that live stand-up is the most powerful and exciting evening to experience. The 6pm show features MC Chris Cairns, Gary Delaney, Mick Miller, and The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue. The line-up for the 8.30pm show is MC Chris Cairns, Gary Delaney, Andy Askins, and The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue. 

GOLDILOCKS AND THE FAB 4 is on Sunday 12 September at 1pm. Running time 60 minutes no interval.  

From the team who presented A Fairy Tale Journey Across The Mersey at last year’s Liverpool Theatre Festival, comes a brand new magical, musical, mash-up family panto. Audiences are invited on a journey with Goldilocks as she takes flight on a broomstick. After the fright of her life, Goldilocks runs off into a magical forest to search for her parents. Little does she know that her biggest adventure awaits in a large castle in the middle of the woods, she has stumbled upon a great school of witchcraft and wizardry. She meets the Fab 4, who have something magical to tell her. She must face her greatest fears and save her parents from the Wicked Queen of the Enchanted Forest. 

SOMETHING ABOUT GEORGE – THE GEORGE HARRISON STORY is on Sunday 12 September 2021, with performances at 5pm and 8pm. Running time 75 minutes no interval. 

Where does life take you after being in the greatest band in the history of the world – this new show answers the question and comes from the creators of Something About Simon – The Paul Simon Story. The production features Daniel Taylor, and tells the truly remarkable tale and pays tribute to one of music’s most understated icons. Featuring beautiful songs My Sweet Lord, Something, and Handle With Care, the show also includes incredible solo material and music from rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys which was made up of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. And not forgetting Beatles’ classics. From heartbreak to hedonism and songwriting to success, Something About George will showcase a life that was anything but quiet. 

Visit www.liverpooltheatrefestival.com for the latest news updates. 

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