The Chester blog
  • Storyhouse have announced the appointment of Suzie Henderson to the role of Creative Director , following the departure of Alex Clifton. The new role has a re-focus on the work of managing the charity’s substantial Creative Communities portfolio, driving inclusion, and community-led programming. Suzie is currently Head of Creative Development, running the artistic team at renowned young people’s theatre company Contact in Manchester, where she has been a leading voice and industry advocate for 14 years. She joins Storyhouse in January. As Creative Director, Suzie will lead community, inclusion, and education strategies, increasing and diversifying the voices that make Storyhouse’s work. She will also oversee Young Storyhouse and steer emerging talent pipelines. Suzie brings a wealth of experience in engagement an ivyd participation; nurturing talent, youth leadership and governance, co-creation, programming and producing. She joined Contact as its Head of Creative Development in 2007 and led the Manchester venue’s artistic team to deliver an exciting cross-art form programme of live and digital performances and events. She is also a steering board member of Manchester’s Cultural Education Partnership MADE, co-chair of its Youth Voice task group and a board member at Plymouth-based Beyond Face which provides opportunities for artists of the Global Majority to live, work and thrive in the South West theatre sector. Storyhouse CEO Andrew Bentley said today: “When we set this role after a little re-organisation, the intention was to provide creative leadership to an enhanced focus on inclusion-based programming and in particular Young Storyhouse. We want to elevate these voices that make our work, further empower the forces of creative democracy and of our young people. This job is tailor made for Suzie and we are absolutely delighted to be welcoming her to our team, we really could not have made a better appointment” Suzie Henderson added: ‘I am beyond thrilled to be joining Storyhouse, a venue that is so well loved by its local community and provides so many entry points for young people, communities and audiences through its library, theatres and cinema spaces. The opportunities for inclusion based programming and co-creation are vast and I am excited to get stuck in’
Suzie Henderson
  • Voting is open now for Britain’s Favourite Market 2022. Members of the public can vote once per day via the website. This will be the last year to vote for the market in its current form, with the new market opening in the Northgate development after 54 years of service to the public. The latest batch of new traders in the market include Louisiana themed food stall Gator Pit, Vegan House Foods and Retro Dojo- specialising in vintage video games and toys. Meanwhile the Vinological unit at the rear of the market has been replaced by a pop up wine bar from Paysan. The market have announced that they will open on Sundays in December ( 5, 12 and 19th) from 11- 5, but there will be no late night Thursday openings this year. To vote for the market visit https://nabma.com/vote-for-britains-favourite-market-2022/
  • Christmas festivities start in Ellesmere Port on Thursday 18 November as the Christmas lights are switched on. The activities include a lantern Parade led by the giant Queen of Light puppet, there will also be free children’s rides, food and drink plus of course Father Christmas. Activities start on the Civic Square from 4pm until 6pm. The Mayor of Ellesmere Port, Councillor Lisa Denson will lead the countdown to the Christmas tree being lit. Said Councillor Denson: “It is so good to be able to welcome families back to the Christmas lights switch on and lantern parade. I’m looking forward to saying hello and seeing all the smiling faces after such a tough couple of years. “I’d like to add a special thanks to Westminster Community Primary School who have decorated the star on our tree this year.” Other Christmas events include Hoole Christmas Lights (Saturday 20 November), Chester’s Twelve Days of Christmas (Thursday 25 November), Winsford Christmas Lights (Friday 26 November), Willaston Christmas Lights (Friday 26 November), Frodsham Christmas Lights (Saturday 27 November), Northwich Christmas Lights (Saturday 27 November), Neston Lights switch on (Saturday 27 November).
Queen of Light
  • Festive events and workshops at The Interiors Shop (Westminster park ) this autumn/ winter include: Beer and Gin Tasting evening with Beers @ No 42 on November 18th (£20) Beers @ No 42 is a local merchant based on the Wirral and during this evening you will learn all about the beers and gins that they stock, that you won’t come across in the supermarkets! You can choose to sample 4 beers or 4 gin & tonics. December 14th offers a 2 hour Christmas Canvas Art workshop. Full step by step demonstrations and guidance will be given so you have a finished masterpiece to take home. Sue Howell, a local artist and tutor living in Chester, runs regular art classes and workshops on the Wirral . During her workshops she likes to use various forms of art materials such as brusho and inks as well as the more traditional mediums of watercolour and acrylics. She loves to convey these artistic techniques in a fun, relaxed, easy to follow step-by-step format making it ideal for beginners. Meanwhile on December 15th there is a Christmas wreath making workshop with Julie from Velvet Peony. In this workshop you will learn how to make a wreath with a traditional 14″ moss base, gorgeous foliage and seasonal decorations. . All materials and equipment are provided including in a glass of fizz or soft drink and nibbles. For a full list of events and courses visit https://theinteriorsshop.co.uk/workshops-and-events
  • Ex Mansun front man Paul Draper has announced details of his 2022 tour including an appearance at Chester’s Live Rooms on the 1st March. The singer songwiter of the most successful band to ever come out of Chester is touring in support of his new solo album “Cult Leader Tactics” ( A self help manual on how to be a massive cult in the music industry) available on 28th January 2022. Single “Cult Leader Tactics” is out now on all major platforms. The new album is Paul’s follow up to his debut solo release 2017s Spooky Action. Full details https://pauldraperofficial.com/

  • Nineteen creative groups have been awarded funding between £200 and £500 to support creativity across west Cheshire, from Malpas to Northwich and Ellesmere Port to Chester, the grants are helping choirs, crafters, theatre groups and festive events to take place, reuniting communities creatively, many for the first time since the pandemic began. Activities being supported from October to January include outdoor workshops in Tattenhall and The Spinney, producing graffiti murals and woodland workshop with artist Tim Pugh and during November and December, Aleta Doran, Artist in Residence at Chester Cathedral is running mosaic workshops in the Countess of Chester Country Park, ahead of the Constellations exhibition which she is curating at the Cathedral in Spring 2022.  Community productions, such as Minerva Arts storytelling youth project ‘Streets though time’, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre led shows at the Storyhouse on 24 November and 15 December have benefited from the funding. Council Leader Louise Gittins commented : “I am thrilled at the diversity of projects that have applied and been awarded and hope to see more being supported in the second round and the results of this west Cheshire wide celebration of community-led creativity. More funding is available for groups developing creative activities in the run up to the festive season, including lantern festivals for the dark evenings or other forms of activities to help communities celebrate and brighten up highstreets across Cheshire.” A further £9000 will be distributed across the borough during November.
Scented Garden event
  • The Scented Garden on Northgate row have announced details of their Christmas event on the 24th November. The event runs from 5-8pm with guests advised to email to confirm their attendance. There will be free mini treatments, 20% Discount off products, Goody bags and a glass of bubbly on arrival . A pop up shop from local business K & G chocolates and Truffles will also be present on the night. The Scented Garden recently won the “best health and beauty services ” award at the Chester BID customer services award. Email to confirm your attendance Scentedgardenretreat@btinternet.com
  • Share Shop are hosting a reading and Q&A with USA today best selling romance author Brenda St John at the shop on Northgate street 1st Dec at 7pm. Brenda, originally from New York now lives locally. For more information about Brenda visit https://brendastjohnbrown.com/
  • Theatre Company Against The Grain will stage its latest production, “Mr Dumpling”, by playwright and company co-founder Mark Newman at The Live Rooms in Chester, the first time that the popular live music venue has played host to a theatrical production Described as a twisted, dark comedy, the play runs at The Live rooms from Monday 29th November – Wednesday 1st December at 7.30pm and is produced by the same team behind the acclaimed Forum Studio Theatre production of “Glorious!” and the sell-out production of Jan Bengree’s “Small Tales” at Chester Little Theatre. Speaking about the play, company co-founder Paul Crofts said “Mr Dumpling” tells the story of middle-aged man Graham who moves back in with his ageing parents Joyce and Frank after splitting up with his partner Nigel. Little does he expect to find his mother operating a telephone sex line for older gentleman and both of them at each other’s throats.  So, three weeks later, when he finds himself ‘assisting the Police with their inquiries’ into their disappearance, just how much should he tell them?  Should he mention what his Dad asked him to help with?  Exactly what is buried under his mother’s prize-winning rhododendron? And who the hell is Mr Dumpling? Mark whose previous plays include “Useless Beauty” and “The Prescribed Distance” said “We’re delighted to finally be able to stage my (now not so) new play, “Mr Dumpling”, and even happier to be bringing it to The Live Rooms in Chester, a venue more usually associated with live music.  The management of the venue have already been very supportive and encouraging and we are very much looking forward to performing there.  The last 18 months have been very frustrating as we originally had plans to perform the play in July 2020.  However, the enforced lay-off has allowed me to fine tune the play and it’s now as polished and funny as it can be.  It has been something of shock to the system to back in the rehearsal room and having to memorise lines again but a welcome change from doing nothing!  We can’t wait to share “Mr Dumpling” with an audience, we’re sure they must be missing seeing live theatre every bit as much as we’ve missed producing it. Mark has been involved in theatre in Chester for over 20 years with companies including Tip Top Productions and Chester Little Theatre. Joining Mark on stage are the equally experienced cast members Marian Newman , Fiona Wheatcroft, Stuart Evans , Richard Steventon and Richard Hulse . Tickets https://www.theliverooms.com/
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