• This Saturday (12 Feb) Chester Supertrees are hosting a drop in event at the City Forest garden. Part of the groups community engagement work, guests are invited to meet one of the artists who is designing one of the Air, water and land murals in the subway leading to the space. David Setter – also known as Doodleplanet- will be there to share some of his ideas and meet the public from 10-12 on Saturday morning. He’ll be sketching down some ideas, listening to the locals and chatting with people to guide him in the design of his AIR mural.
  • One of the city’s forgotten and neglected grot spots its to receive a makeover courtesy of the High Street Heritage Action Zone supported by Historic England. The Rows are full of alleyways and ginnels that lie largely unexplored by residents and visitors.  Leen Lane provides direct access between Northgate Row and St Werburgh Street and the Cathedral entrance.  Leen Lane is a perfect example of a place that could both entice visitors from the Cathedral into forgotten places whilst also providing a key service area for the city.  The six-week project includes lifting and relaying the existing Yorkstone to provide a smooth and accessible surface. The area has been used mainly as a bin storage area for surrounding businesses.   The new heritage design will see repairs to the road and pavement using images of the lane from 1931. The design respects the historic layout of the alley, using natural stone materials and construction methods. Councillor Richard Beacham: “Leen Lane has lost its historic charm over many years as the city has adapted to the day to day needs of surrounding businesses. These improvements will enhance this historic route within the city centre and retain the level of intrigue particularly from the Northgate Street entrance. The work is part of our wide-ranging Row’s improvement scheme, which includes lighting upgrades, repairs, re-painting, interpretation and public art. It is all about restoring pride and responding to feedback from residents and businesses in the city.” Historic England’s Pippa Brown said: “The alleyways and ginnels of Chester’s historic high street are often overlooked. These improvements will help people to explore hidden aspects of the city’s heritage and improve the character of the area for locals and visitors alike.”
Leen lane in the 1930s
  • In other heritage news Chester Castle will be opening its doors once again and host to a group of Civil War reenactors. Taking place over the weekend of 19- 20th Feb (free admission) the event will include historical demonstrations and the chance to explore the castle grounds including the Agricola tower and the walls. Previous events have attracted crowds with the castle rarely open to the public. During the Civil War the castle was held by the Royalist forces and was under siege during 1644-45.
  • Chester gang show will makes a welcome return after its Covid absence, taking place on the 15-19th Feb at The Vanburgh Theatre (King’s School) .”A fantastic mix of items from Panto to adventures in the Norse Lands, Elton John to Ralph Reader and a great mix of comedy sketches traditional and modern there’s something for everyone. You can expect Singing, Dancing, Laughter and fun for all the family!” Tickets are available at https://www.chestergangshow.net/nextshow/box-office/booking-form/
  • Community theatre company Tip Top Productions are set to bring the iconic West End and Broadway musical “Cats” to the Anthony Hopkins theatre at Theatr Clwyd from Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th March at 7.30pm with a Matinee performance at 2.30pm. “Cats” is based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S.Eliot, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The musical is one of the longest running West End and Broadway shows. The production at Theatr Clwyd will be directed and choreographed for Tip Top by Rob Stevens, with musical direction by Tim Jones.  The show marks Tip Tops’ return to staging full scale musicals post-covid following on from the success of their two musical compilation concerts staged at Theatr Clwyd last year under strict Covid restrictions. Tip Top’s Artistic Director Steve Davies said “We’re thrilled to be able to return to Theatr Clwyd in March and delighted that the venue is maintaining such a great programme of productions whilst the huge refurbishment is taking place. “Cats” is lining up to be one of our fastest ever selling productions. It just shows how hungry people are to return to live theatre.” Previously based at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester, Tip Top have also announced a new season of productions and social events which will be staged at various local venues throughout 2022 including “Calendar Girls The Musical” in July which sees the company take to the stage at Storyhouse in Chester for the very first time. Full details of the auditions for “Calendar Girls The Musical” including how to register can be found at www.tiptoproductions.co.uk
  • Meanwhile, 3 big names are coming to Storyhouse in June. On sunday 5th June writer, broadcaster and host of Radio 4’s In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg, will be celebrating the publication of his memoir. Melvyn will share his elegiac, intimate account of growing up in up in the Cumbrian market town of Wigton, from his early childhood during the war to the moment he had to decide between staying on or spreading his wings. With the opportunity to ask your own searching questions, this event promises to be a poignant elegy to a vanished era, vividly capturing a community-spirited northern town and illuminating what made Melvyn the writer, broadcaster, and champion of the arts he is today. Monday 13th June offers An Evening with Reverend Richard Coles & Friends : the only British vicar to have had a number-one hit single and to have appeared as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. He is also a Sunday Times bestselling author, Twitter phenomenon, much loved broadcaster, and now – as he retires as the 59th vicar of Finedon – Richard becomes a novelist with the first book in his eagerly anticipated Canon Clement mystery series. He will be celebrating the publication of Murder Before Evensong– which sees the sleepy parish of Champton descend into unexpected chaos. He’ll also be unpicking his own unlikely journey, with all its unexpected junctions, heartache, and joys, that have led Richard to be voted Britain’s Most Whimsical Vicar. Sex, drugs, pop stardom, religious epiphany – a path to “the best job in the world”, hatching, matching and dispatching, his own experience of the madness of grief – this is the story of a life truly and truthfully lived. As the country emerges from two challenging years and as Richard hangs up his dog collar, spend an enlightening and entertaining evening in his company as he asks what life’s all about, and what comes next? Finally on Thursday 16th June theatre goers can spend an evening with Sheila Hancock , one of Britain’s best loved actors of the stage and screen, as she opens up about her ninth decade : “She has weathered and even thrived in widowhood, taking on acting roles that would have been demanding for a woman half her age. She has energy, friends, a devoted family, a lovely home. She can still remember her lines. So why, at 88, having sailed past supposedly disturbing milestones – 50, 70, even 80 – without a qualm, does she suddenly feel so furious?” Hancock will be speaking about her life as as a daughter, sister, mother, wife, widow, an actor, and a friend and looks at a world so different from the wartime world of her childhood. www. storyhouse.com
  • Alexanders will be hosting a charity event on the 16th Feb. Glow 2022 organised by events students at the university of Chester is an indie/funk live music event in aid of KidsBank Chester. Tickets cost £5 and are available on the door. Donations of toys clothes and books are welcome on the night which will feature music by Big Love and the Fuzz, The Jjohns, Cained and more. For more details/tickets see https://www.fridayboysglow.com/
  • Ellesmere Port community theatre group Action Transport Theatre are launching a Young Creative group The group will offer 14 -21 year olds the chance to get into editing video, graphic design, motion graphics, presenting, writing, photography, special effects, acting, sound recording and music. The group will develop a range of creative skills and interests with live projects, creative challenges and fun and games. Taking place at Trinity Church, Whitby Road, the first project will focus on filmmaking. To sign up visit http://www.actiontransporttheatre.org/get-involved/young-creatives
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