Fans of live performance are in for a treat with a fantastic range of new shows heading for the Storyhouse stage during 2023. Whether you love theatre, dance, music, comedy or the spoken word, there is something for audiences of all ages on the programme over the next 12 months as we welcome new and returning companies and a host of talented performers.
The programme opens with Chris Bush’s acclaimed Faustus: That Damned Woman, running from 3-18 February. The unforgettable re-telling of the Faustus legend is an ‘Originals’ co-production between Storyhouse and the brilliant Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and explores what we must sacrifice to achieve greatness.
Musicals fans are in for a treat with a mixture of old favourites and new shows heading for Chester in the New Year.
Cult musical extravaganza The Rocky Horror Show returns to Storyhouse from 27 February – 4 March. Richard O’Brien’s love letter to the B-movies of his youth has been seen by more than 30 million theatregoers in the last 50 years. Take a trip over to the Frankenstein place and do the Time Warp with Brad, Janet and the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter himself.
It won an Olivier Award for best comedy, and now the acclaimed Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is on its first UK tour with a stop at Storyhouse from 11-15 April. The smart, funny and irreverent re-telling of Jane Austen’s much-loved classic features a string of pop classics from You’re So Vain to Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
And the premiership of Tony Blair receives a rip-roaring ‘reckless reappraisal’ in Harry Hill and Steve Brown’s TONY! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] which bursts on to the stage from 11-15 July. The show, with music by Ian McCluskey, follows the former Labour leader’s time as PM from his landslide victory in May 1997 to his resignation 10 years later.
Meanwhile a host of famous faces are also due to entertain Chester audiences through the spring and summer.
Strictly Come Dancing favourite Giovanni Pernice brings his new show Made in Italy to the main stage on 6-7 March. The popular pro dancer, who won the 2021 competition with actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, will be joined by an ensemble of great dancers and singers for a fantastic evening of entertainment.
Legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes pays a visit to Chester on 8 March to tell incredible stories of his childhood, army life and many extreme adventures in his new show Living Dangerously. Sir Ranulph’s expeditions have taken him to both Poles, across the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and above the clouds in the Himalaya.
Culinary queen Prue Leith brings her first ever live show to Storyhouse on 16 March. Frank, revealing and very funny, Nothing in Moderation will take its audience through the ups and downs of being a successful restaurateur, novelist, businesswoman…and of course, Great British Bake Off judge. There will also be a chance to put your own question to Prue.
Much-loved poet Pam Ayres will be making Chester audiences laugh with her verse and irresistible stories on 21 March. She will perform pieces from her many volumes of poetry and other writing, including her new book Who Are You Callin Vermin? as well as her 2021 bestseller Pam Ayres on Animals.
And investigative journalist, presenter – and Strictly celebrity champion – Stacey Dooley will be ‘in conversation’ on June 6 to coincide with the release of her new book Are You Really OK? Understanding Britain’s Mental Health Emergency.
Football fans will be in their element with visits from both former Liverpool and Manchester stars during the year.
Hear from Ronnie Whelan, Steve McMahon and Jan Molby in An Audience With Liverpool Legends on 30 May. There’s also a chance for a special meet-and-greet.
And An Audience With Manchester Legends on 28 June promises the ultimate evening for fans, with Brian Robson and Brian McClair live on stage together. Both ‘audience with’ events are hosted by Jed Stone.
If you love dance or music, then 2023 has plenty of top shows to enjoy.
Avant Garde Dance takes centre stage on 28 March with Tony Adigun’s Illegal Dance, a unique and mesmerising multisensory experience which combines contemporary choreography and innovative technical stagecraft to explore a future where artistic expression is forbidden by oppressive regimes around the world.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain brings ukulelemania to Storyhouse on 17 March, sharing joy and sheer musical artistry along the way.
Mike Oldfield’s seminal solo album Tubular Bells turns 50 in 2023, and on 19 March there’s a chance to celebrate by listening to the musical masterpiece played live with a full band, arranged and conducted by Oldfield’s long-term collaborator Robin Smith.
English Touring Opera brings two new productions to Storyhouse – Donizetti’s tragic masterpiece Lucrezia Borgia on 31 March and Rossini’s comic opera Il Viaggio a Reims on 1 April. Both productions are accompanied by music played on period instruments in partnership with the Old Street Band.
On 2 April the BBC Big Band presents The Sound of Cinema, celebrating iconic songs and soundtracks from the last 80 years of the silver screen including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Alfie, James Bond and Mission: Impossible, joined by guest vocalist Emer McParland.
And first lady of folk Kate Rusby pays a visit to Storyhouse on 21 April as part of her celebrations marking 30 years in the music business which also include a new album – 30: Happy Returns – featuring a host of guest artists. She will be joined in Chester by her band, including her husband and producer Damien O’Kane.
Storyhouse is also delighted to present a brilliant collection of shows for families and young people as part of the new season.
Joss Arnott Dance brings Tin Man to Hunter Street on 6 April. The enchanting retelling of a classic story imagines the much-loved character’s encounters with the Witch in the deep wood, and the new friendships he makes with the Scarecrow and Lion along the way in a story told with humour and pathos.
Then on 8-9 April enjoy some Tales From Acorn Wood, based on the famous stories by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The show features Rabbit’s Nap, Fox’s Socks, Hide-and-Seek Pig and Postman Bear and is packed full of toe-tapping songs and puppetry.
And Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show takes over the main stage from 17-20 August, in a new show featuring loveable Duggee, the Squirrels and many more of your favourite characters.
Spring and summer 2023 also feature a fabulous line-up of comedians including Tom Allen: Completely (11-12 March – sold out), Mike Wozniak: Zuza (28 April – sold out), Tim Vine: Breeeep! (23 July) and Frankie Boyle with Lap of Shame(4-5 September).
Then on 18-19 October the brilliant Sarah Millican returns to Storyhouse with her new stand-up show Late Bloomer.
Storyhouse creative director Suzie Henderson says: “I’m really pleased that we’re able to bring Chester audiences such an exciting and diverse range of productions, concerts and events for 2023.
“From new musicals like Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) and TONY! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] to fascinating ‘in conversations’, wonderful music, thought-provoking dance and delightful children’ shows, it’s already shaping up to be a busy and memorable year – and with much more still to come.”