• This Saturday, 19th March at Sat Mary’s Handbridge Centre is the Minerva Community Project event (2pm) Visitors can come along to discover more about the history of Roman Handbridge and the Goddess Minerva. There will be talks from Caroline Pudney (University of Chester Archaeology: The Great British Dig, channel 4) and Jane Hebblewhite (senior Heritage officer, Grosvenor Museum) with a chance to discover some artefacts and meet a Roman soldier and watch a community film. Minerva’s shrine dates from the early 2nd century and is the only monument in western Europe that remains in its original location. Minerva was the Roman goddess of war, knowledge, and craftsmanship.
  • The Spring Blooms programme continues this weekend with the Chester, Designed by Nature: Enchanted Forest Festival Weekend. Experience our city like you never have before – al fresco festivals will be popping up in it’s beautiful corners over the weekend with roaming entertainers and our businesses taking to the streets to join in the festivities. Look out for : The King Brasstards, a New Orleans inspired 5-piece brass band will bring the streets of Chester to life and fill it with brassy and brilliant tunes! The Magical Flower Fairies  : Creating magical moments as they roam all around Chester. The flower fairies will bring you into their fairy world, creating lots of moments of surprise and awe at some of their tricks. The Enchanted Trees : Tall and crooked. The enchanted forest trees will tell tales of their Spring forest adventures and are ready for lots of selfies and snaps with Chester visitors young and old. For a full list of activities visit https://www.visitcheshire.com/chester/springblooms/whats-on
  • Also this Saturday at The Friendly Bench in the Countess of Chester Country Park, a consultation on exciting plans to create a wetland habitat in the park. Dr Christian Dunn and Andy Scargill will be present to talk to the public about the plans to create a wet meadow in an an underused area of the park. Around eight acres in size, this wetland will provide a habitat that is becoming increasingly rare in the UK. Once completed the site will increase biodiversity, clean a polluted river, help store storm water, thus helping prevent the flooding which often occurs downstream and even has the potential to act as a carbon sink, preventing the release of harmful greenhouse gases. It will be used as an educational and research resource for the local community; hospital patients, staff and users; schools; youth groups and visitors. It will act as a focal point in bringing local conservation and environmental groups together. Also taking place will be community tree planting and seed sowing.
  • On The Mark Youth Theatre (OTMYT) will stage the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Whistle Down The Wind” at Christleton High School from Tuesday 22nd – Saturday 26th March at 7.30pm with a Matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday 26th March. The show marks the Youth Theatre’s return to staging large scale shows following the  cancellation of its production of “CATS” two years ago due to the Pandemic. Set in 1950s America, “Whistle Down The Wind” is a fast-paced show featuring full on power ballads with a score written by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler songwriter Jim Steinman and also featuring the smash hit ballad “No Matter What” made famous by Boyzone. The musical tells the story of a group of children who stumble across an escaped killer (The Man) hiding in barn. The children become convinced that the man is in fact Jesus Christ. Whilst the townspeople set out to hunt the fugitive down, their anger is in complete contrast to the innocence of the children who believe in and trust the escaped prisoner. The production features a live band of 14 musicians and a cast which includes 12 adults taking to the stage alongside the 60 strong Youth cast. Playing the lead role of “The Man” is actor Rob Lyon. A graduate of Mountview & Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Rob most recently appeared on stage at Theatr Clwyd in Tip Top Productions musical theatre compilation show “The Show Must Go On”. In keeping with On The Mark’s usual high standards and production values, a team of no fewer than 30 backstage crew and technical staff has been assembled to ensure the show runs smoothly. Speaking about staging their first large scale production in two years, Simon Phillips, On The Mark’s Artistic Director said “We are delighted to be back on stage this March, following the challenging circumstances of the past couple of years. “Whistle Down the Wind” is a show that deals with faith of all kinds, and we’ve certainly had to keep our fair share of that as a group, since 2020. For the first time, we are combining our youth cast with a number of adults in key roles, and it’s been wonderful working together and bringing one of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s masterpieces to life. As one of his less often performed shows, we hope that we are offering our audiences a chance to watch something new, in many cases, although many will know the original British film of 1961, based on the novel. Of course, the musical features a couple of familiar songs including the titular “Whistle Down the Wind”, recorded by Tina Arena, and “No Matter What”, famously recorded by Boyzone.” Full details of “Whistle Down The Wind” can be found at www.otmyt.co.uk 
Chef Chris Baber
  • Chris Baber is the latest Chef to join the line up at Chester Food and Drink Festival 2022.  As a consultant for M&S Food, Chris creates weekly family recipes and is the face of their ‘Fresh Market Update’ TV adverts, a campaign which reaches millions of people across the UK.  Chris worked under critically acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar and won the 2016 series of BBC One’s popular cooking competition Yes Chef.  Chris has also launched BBC’s Blue Peter ‘Cooking Club’, and fronted his own food strand with BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen.  With over 200,000 followers across his social media platforms, Chris gives his followers the confidence to get in the kitchen and cook his easy recipes – accompanied by some motivational music, of course.  Chris will be headlining the Chef Demonstration Stage at Chester Racecourse on Monday 18th April. Entry to the Chef Demonstrations is included in the ticket price. https://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk/online-tickets/
  • Coming to the Cathedral (March 21 – April 24 ) is contemporary mosaic exhibition Constellations. Artists from across the UK and abroad will present new work, never seen before, responding to the theme Constellations.  ” Mosaic is one of the most ancient and enduring art forms.  Each piece is unique – the individual tesserae are precisely cut to fit, demanding time, beautiful materials and highly skilled craftsmanship.  To appreciate a mosaic, you really need to see it! Visitors will be able to enjoy the extraordinary variety of materials, texture and colour used by modern mosaic artists, and appreciate the detail and complexity of this art form.  There will also be a collaborative installation created from tiny jewel-like mosaics made in bottle tops!”  This exhibition is curated by Aleta Doran, Artist in Residence at Chester Cathedral, and Manchester based mosaic artist Tracey Cartledge, on behalf of the British Association for Modern Mosaic. Constellations will be in the Chapter House and open during normal Cathedral hours.
Pupils from St Martin’s Academy with Councillor Martyn Delaney and Councillor Bob Rudd
  • In celebration of Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, The National Association of Civic Officers organised a tree planting across the country for civic leaders and mayors on Friday 11 March. The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Martyn Delaney and the Chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Councillor Bob Rudd joined pupils from St Martin’s Academy to plant two trees in Alexandra Park, Hoole.  The Lord Mayor of Chester said: “Planting these trees will create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the nation. The jubilee focuses on sustainably, which is extremely important, with our trees benefiting future generations.” The Chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Alexandra Park in Chester is a well-used and much-loved park, and it was wonderful to be able to plant our trees in such a special place.  Trees symbolise strength, fruitfulness, and peace and I hope that our two trees will grow tall and strong, and they will be a sign of strength and peace for future generations.”  Celebrations will take place across the borough from 2 June, for details visit: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/news-and-views/her-majesty-the-queens-platinum-jubilee.aspx

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