Chester’s new £37m arts complex, Storyhouse, which is situated in what was the former Odeon Cinema building, welcomes audiences to their first chance to see its stunning 800-seater auditorium in all its glory.
The brand new centre has enjoyed a spectacularly successful opening season of home grown productions since it opened in May, with its company of actors performing in the intimate 500-seat thrust stage space. Now the flexible theatrical auditorium is being transformed to accommodate a season of big-budget musicals, innovative dance, thought-provoking theatre and household comedy names.
The autumn season opens with the toe-tapping 80s musical Footloose, which comes to Storyhouse as part of a UK tour. The hit show, based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, stars Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore and features a string of sing-a-long hits including Let’s Hear It For the Boy, Holding Out for A Hero, and the title song Footloose. It’s running from now until 9 September.
Comedy fans have snapped up tickets for Jon Richardson with the 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown regular’s new touring show, Old Man, due to play to a sell-out audience on 19 September. He will be followed by Joel Dommett on 26 September, with an evening that promises confetti cannons and a musical number, and on 3 October by comedy giant Stewart Lee, whose show Content Provider is also a sell-out.
And later in the season the comedy continues, with grumpy old woman – and Splash survivor – Jenny Eclair gives some tips on How to be a Middle-Aged Woman (Without Going Insane) on 19 October, while laconic American funnyman Rich Hall and friends present a gratuitous mash-up of the very best of comedy and music in Hoedown (21 October).
Comic opera company Opera della Luna pays its first visit to Storyhouse on 22-23 September with Tales From Offenbach, while musical All or Nothing, which charts the story of the influential 60s mod group Small Faces, known best for hit songs like Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier, runs from 27-30 September.
Willy Russell’s iconic and moving story of Nurture versus Nature, Blood Brothers, makes a welcome visit from 9-14 October, starring Lyn Paul as Mrs Johnstone.
October also heralds a trio of shows to delight dance and physical theatre enthusiasts, from Cockfight on 7 October, which is described as a cross between The Office and an Australian-style cage fight, to Tangomotion, which brings the passion of Buenos Aires to Chester on 18 October, and the brilliant all-male dance company BalletBoyz, presenting its new show on30 October.
Singer-songwriter and folk music star Kate Rusby makes an appearance on 20 October to mark 25 years in the music business.
There’s a Pythonesque turn of events from 31 October-4 November with the arrival of the hilarious award-winning musical Spamalot, packed with bold – and not so bold – knights, ladies of the lake, fish slapping, flying cows, a killer rabbit and ferocious Frenchmen.
And the autumn touring season concludes with the powerful and thought-provoking physical family drama Things I Know to be True, at Storyhouse from 7-11 November. The story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations. Parents Bob and Fran have worked their fingers to the bone and with their four children grown and ready to fly the nest it might be time to relax and enjoy the roses. But the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths. This was a massive hit with audiences and critics alike when it played at The Liverpool Playhouse in October 2016, starring Imogen Stubbs as Fran and Ewan Stewart as Bob and is a play definitely not to be missed.
The season of touring productions is followed by a world premiere, as Storyhouse presents the first ever stage adaptation of Enid Blyton’s beloved The Secret Seven. The magical Christmas show is penned by Glyn Maxwell and runs from 1 December to 15 January, with the theatre returned to a 500-seater venue for the run.
Footloose 5–9 September
Jon Richardson 19 September
Tales of Offenbach 22–23 September
Joel Dommett 26 September
All or Nothing 27–30 September
Stewart Lee 3 October
Cockfight 7 October
Blood Brothers 9–14 October
Tangomotion 18 October
Jenny Eclair 19 October
Kate Rusby 20 October
Rich Hall 21 October
BalletBoyz 30 October
Spamalot 31 October–4 November
Things I Know to be True 7–11 November
To Book Tickets Visit storyhouse.com or call 01244 409 113 to find out more.