Marking International Women’s Day, Storyhouse announces ‘WOW’

North West’s first ever Women of the World Festival coming to Chester

Signage being installed at Storyhouse, earlier in the year.


Taking place on 20th and 21st May at Storyhouse, Chester (the brand new £37m theatre, cinema and library) WOW - Women of the World Chester - will see leading female voices from across the region celebrate the theme of ambition whilst exploring paths to a gender equal world.

A programme of workshops, speed-mentoring sessions, panel discussions, film, exhibitions, poetry, stand-up comedy and a marketplace will form the inaugural festival line-up.

Kate Carpenter, head of spaces for Storyhouse, commented: “The response to WOW Chester has already been brilliant.

“We had women, men, girls and boys from across the borough and beyond take part in our ‘Thinkins’ which have shaped the WOW Chester programme.

“We are surrounded by people with wonderful and challenging ideas – it’s inspiring.”

Headlining elements of the event include a keynote address from Southbank Centre’s artistic director and WOW founder Jude Kelly, Cheshire Woman of the Year Kate Northcott-Spall, leading businesswoman Simone Roche, and leader of Cheshire West and Chester council Cllr Samantha Dixon.

First launched by Southbank Centre in 2010, WOW is now a global movement, with its series of international festivals reaching over one million people across five continents, and growing year on year.  

Following a series of open ‘Thinkins’, WOW Chester has been programmed by numerous contributors from across the region.

The new Storyhouse signage which will shine out along Northgate Street for years to come

Highlights for WOW Chester 2017 also include a talk from Sue Flood - the award-winning wildlife photographer, author and filmmaker.

There will be panel discussions on a range of subjects - including women in business, women in sport, abuse and childlessness plus a series of workshops on poetry, singing and salary negotiation.

An exhibition of art curated by 40 artists – many from Arab and Muslim cultures will form part of the line-up too, and there will be a performance by Cheshire-based dance company Fallen Angels.

The film Sonita (winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary) will be screened in the brand new Storyhouse cinema.

Interactive workshop will also be taking place for under 10s to explore what it means to be a girl and how to start a feminism campaign from their bedroom.

The festival will be rounded off with an evening of stand-up comedy, plus a weekend-long marketplace will be hosted in Storyhouse’s impressive foyer with a range of stalls providing information, raising awareness, and showcasing work, craft and fashion.

Storyhouse is a new public attraction – a theatre, library and cinema, home to a year-round programme of home-made and touring theatre and film along with a host of activities across its considerable public spaces.

Designed by Bennetts Associates and featuring an 800/500 seat-theatre; a 100 seat cinema; a 150-seat flexible studio theatre; library spaces; digital production and broadcast facilities; a café bar and restaurant.

Storyhouse is carved from the Grade II listed art deco 1936 Odeon cinema and a brand new state of the art glass extension.

The venue is predicted to receive 500,000 visits per year, bringing cinema and theatre back to Chester city centre after a decade-long absence. Cheshire West and Chester Council has committed over £30 million to fund Storyhouse.

Tickets for WOW Chester will go on sale from Friday 10th March. To find out more go to:

Share this article

About SC

Cheshire's online lifestyle magazine, created to celebrate and share the experiences of the people who live and work here. Powered by Pressglue and inspired by our surroundings, we hope to promote the very best of what's going on in our area.... read more