• Taste Cheshire have announced the opening day line up for this years Food and Drink Festival. Headlining Saturday will be Celebrity Chef Nisha Katona MBE, TV star and owner of Mowgli Street Food and founder of the Mowgli Trust charity. This week Nisha began her new role as a judge on the new series of Great British Menu on BBC two and has appeared twice this week on ITV’s This Morning. The Saturday line-up also  includes some other big names in the local food and drink industry. Roux Scholarship winner Harry Guy is soon to open “X by Harry Guy” as part of the Wilde’s Hotel in Chester and will be showing off the kind of culinary delights you’ll be able to try when his fantastic new venue opens this year. His emphasis is on relaxed fine dining and ‘flavour first’ British dishes and his resume reads like a “restaurants you must visit before you die” list. Nicholas Friar and Head Chef Laszlo from Chester’s Hypha will be returning to the Chef demonstration stage once again after their storming success last year. They will dazzle with their astonishing Michelin Green starred, plant-based food. Their sustainable approach to fine dining is designed to be both entertaining and educational. Cocktail aficionado Rick Warrier will be rounding off the day with a brilliant demonstration of the best way to enjoy our fabulous locally produced spirits. Rick will also be talking about how he inspires people in the hospitality trade and develops excellence through proper training. Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Festival at Chester Racecourse, 16th – 18th April 2022. Tickets https://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk/online-tickets/
Chef Nisha Katona
  • A Chester based community theatre company is offering budding musical theatre stars the opportunity to appear on stage at Chester’s prestigious Storyhouse as rehearsals get underway for a brand-new production of a classic musical Chester Operatic Society are looking for additional cast members, to join the chorus of their upcoming production of “Me and My Girl” which will be staged at Storyhouse from Wednesday 8th – Saturday 11th of June. The musical features a host of feelgood songs including “The Lambeth Walk”, “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” and “Leaning on a Lamp post”. The production marks Chester Operatic Society’s return to staging full scale productions post Covid and follows on from its critically acclaimed sell out production of “Singing In The Rain” at Storyhouse in 2018. The production will form part of the Society’s Centenary celebrations with a number of special events taking place throughout 2022. Speaking about the production, the show’s Artistic Director and Choreographer Rob Stevens said  “We are delighted to be staging “Me and My Girl” on the Storyhouse stage, particularly as our previously planned production, “Made in Dagenham” had to be shelved due to the pandemic. We have a fantastic main cast in place but are looking to add more performers to the chorus, particularly men with strong tenor or bass voices or anyone (aged 13 or over) keen on dancing (including tap). There are some fantastic cameo roles available so if you have singing and dancing experience and have ever wanted to appear on stage in a large-scale musical, now is your chance. If you would like to join us but are not sure what being in the production will involve, please don’t hesitate to get in touch”.  The production team are also keen to hear from volunteers to help with costumes and anyone who would like to join the backstage team.  Rehearsals for “Me and My Girl” are currently underway at St Mark’s Church Hall in Saltney near Chester and anyone interested in joining the cast or production team should email productions@chesteroperatic.co.uk Full details about Chester Operatic Society can be found at www.chesteroperatic.co.uk
  • A poignant, heartfelt and funny new musical from award-winning stage and screen writer Tim Firth (Calendar Girls The Musical, Kinky Boots and The Band) will receive its world premiere at Storyhouse this spring. Now is Good is being staged from 11-28 May, and tickets are on sale now. The musical will be directed by Joyce Branagh and arranged by George Francis. It stars Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, A Very English Scandal).  Now is Good writer Tim Firth said: “I like to think that shows pick their own titles. I stumbled on a phrase during my first chat with Storyhouse.  In the intervening years, with the world seemingly on a different planet, I found myself writing a comic musical about combatting loneliness. Not only that; apart from having live tigers on stage, it’s a story that involves one of the riskiest things ever attempted in a theatre. But we mustn’t lose our willingness to take risks in order to have fun. Life’s too short. Now is good. The title is having its day.”  Now is Good is a musical comedy about the greatest challenges currently facing humanity: how to help your children, where to hide your biscuits and how to fight loneliness.    When builder Ray and his son Neil embark on a very personal renovation project, it unlocks a bank of memories – and with the arrival of some unexpected help, it also takes an extraordinary turn.  Storyhouse producer Helen Redcliffe added: “We’re very excited to be working with Tim Firth to stage this fantastic new musical for Storyhouse audiences.  Now Is Good is a beautiful, tender and feelgood show which is filled with Tim’s trademark wit, humour and humanity as well as some fantastic melodies. We can promise it will be a magical experience.” Find out more and book at storyhouse.com  
  • Preparations are underway for the country to celebrate the 70th anniversary for Her Majesty the Queen who has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history. Additional bank holidays have been granted, with events expected to be held between the 2 and 6 June 2022. This is an opportunity for communities to come together to celebrate such a significant occasion. The council are expecting to see a demand for community events and are now accepting event requests to hold street parties, put up bunting and beacons of light. The Council has produced an application form for groups that want to hold their own events, email: artswest@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk  Councillor Leader Louise Gittins said: “I am sure there will be a lot of communities keen to run their own street parties. To help simplify the requests, the event application form asks for specific information for a typical event. If communities wish to hold a significantly different type of event, these can be picked up through the normal event application process.  If a community wants to run an event but they don’t have the experience to plan an event, please contact us. We are in touch with the Cheshire West Voluntary Action who may be able to identify a person locally who can help.”  In line with planning for outdoor events, where a public road or park is used, the Council will require an application request and a minimum of £1m public liability insurance (online prices start from £59 depending on the complexity of the event).  If the community event requires a road to be closed, the Council will waive the legal fee for the closure order. In all cases where a road closure is required, the organiser will need to discuss the area to be used for the event and the Council will agree the method that the road is to be closed. If there are no locally trained people, the organisers may be required to contract and cover the costs for traffic management to deliver the road closure and signage.  As part of the approval process and to meet the requirements of legal orders and traffic signage, the deadline for bunting requests is Friday 15 April and the deadline for street party and beacon applications is Friday 22 April.  Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and approved where the time scales and requirements have been met. It is important that communities work to the cut off dates so that the Council has the appropriate time to consider and grant the events. Added Councillor Gittins: “It’s with great pride that Chester has been chosen as one of twelve Queen’s Green Canopy Champion Cities. We started our celebrations with the planting of a Jubilee Tree as a part of a borough-wide contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. A further 360 trees were planted at the Countess of Chester Community Park by over 40 volunteers.  In addition to street parties, tree planting and beacons, more activities will be shared including exhibitions and a Jubilee film.”
Royal visit 2018
  • Could you help support people in your community? Sign up to join the Council’s reserve workforce Across the country pressures in the care system are increasing, with care providers unable to recruit as many staff as they would like to, and Covid 19 forcing staff to stay away from work for periods of time. As the situation worsens there may not be enough staff to care for the people who need it.  The Council is now looking to recruit a small workforce that could be called on in times of emergency to help support people within their local areas. We are calling on anyone, with or without care experience, to help us ensure everyone who needs support gets it. All members of the workforce will receive a sign-up bonus, alongside a week’s training, fully paid, before undertaking any roles. Ongoing support will also be available and, if and when called upon, members would be paid for their time. Cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Val Armstrong, said: “We are facing unprecedented pressures within our care system at the moment. Problems with recruiting staff are coupled with the impact of Covid-19 and self-isolation measures, meaning more staff are away from their roles than ever before. “What shone through during the first wave of the Covid pandemic was the amount of our residents who wanted to play their part, support others in their community and generally look out for one another. Volunteers made huge contributions to supporting people within their local communities during this time, whether it was picking up a neighbour’s medication, delivering food packages or just checking people were ok. We want to harness that goodwill, that unity that we all felt so strongly, and use it to ensure nobody within our borough goes without the care they need in the event of an emergency situation. If you think you have some time to support people in your area please get in contact. You will be paid for your time, receive full training, and be supported by Council staff if and when you are called upon.” Members of the workforce can choose how much time they work – either helping the council deliver care to those at risk of not being supported by joining a bank of carers to supplement the substantive workforce (auxiliary), or temporarily stepping in at short notice to provide short term cover in the event that a care provider can no longer deliver care (reserve). Details at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/arcworkforce 
  • The city’s popular history of medicine themed attraction Sick to Death is hosting “Love Sick to Death” from 11-13th February. This offers visitors the chance to “take a romantic stroll through the museum to learn about murderous couples, poisonous love potions and romantic sexual disease stories.” Described as an “ideal date night with a toxic twist” the venue will be staying open til 9pm on fri/sat. Adult entry costs £6
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