Inaugural touring season at Storyhouse, Chester
Storyhouse welcomes the first show in its inaugural touring season this week – giving audiences the first chance to see its stunning 800-seat auditorium in all its glory.
The city’s new £37m arts complex has enjoyed a spectacular and successful opening season of homegrown productions since it opened in May, with its company of actors performing in the intimate 500-seat thrust stage space.
But now the flexible theatrical auditorium is being transformed to be able to accommodate the upcoming season of big-budget musicals, innovative dance, thought-provoking theatre and household comedy names.
The autumn season opens tonight (Tuesday) with toe-tapping 80s musical Footloose, which comes to Storyhouse as part of a UK tour.
The hit show, based on the 1984 film, stars Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore and features a string of singalong hits including Let’s Hear It For the Boy, Holding Out for A Hero, along with the title song Footloose.
Comedy fans have snapped up tickets to see 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 19th September.
He will be followed by Joel Dommett on 26th September, with an evening that promises confetti cannons and a musical number, and on 3rd October by comedy giant Stewart Lee, whose show Content Provider is also a sell-out.
Later in the season, the comedy continues with ‘grumpy old woman’ Jenny Eclair who’ll be giving some tips on How To Be A Middle-Aged Woman (Without Going Insane) on 19th October, while American funnyman Rich Hall and friends present a gratuitous mash-up of the very best of comedy and music in Hoedown on 21st October.
Comic opera company Opera Della Luna pays its first visit to Storyhouse between 22nd-23rd September with Tales From Offenbach, while musical All or Nothing, which charts the story of the influential 60s mod group Small Faces (known for hit songs like Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier) runs from 27th-30th September.
Willy Russell’s iconic and moving story of nurture v nature, Blood Brothers, makes a welcome visit from 9th-14th October, starring Lyn Paul as Mrs Johnstone.
October also heralds a trio of shows to delight dance and physical theatre enthusiasts.
There’s Cockfight on 7th October, which is described as a cross between The Office and an Australian-style cage fight, then Tangomotion, which brings the passion of Buenos Aires to Chester, on 18th October and the brilliant all-male dance company BalletBoyz presenting its new show on 30th October.
Singer-songwriter and folk music star Kate Rusby makes an appearance on 20th October to mark 25 years in the music business.
There’s a Pythonesque turn of events from 31st October until 4th 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 from 7th-11th November.
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 1st December to 15th January, with the theatre returned to a 500-seater venue for the run.
Artistic Director of Storyhouse, Alex Clifton, said: “We could not have asked for a better start to Storyhouse – audiences have loved the venue and our actors have had a wonderful time performing on the intimate thrust stage.
“Now it’s a chance to show the people of Chester just how versatile Storyhouse is, as we open up the space to become a full 800-seat auditorium and welcome what is a wonderfully varied and brilliantly entertaining season of shows to take us towards our first Christmas here.
“This autumn it’s all about having fun. And if you want to be amazed, uplifted and above all entertained, Storyhouse is the place to be.”
Storyhouse is a new public attraction in Chester: a theatre, library and cinema.
Designed by Bennetts Associates, the venue features an 800/500 seat-theatre, a 100-seat cinema, a 150-seat flexible studio theatre, library spaces, digital production and broadcast facilities, a cafe 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 iconic building is predicted to receive 600,000 visits per year, as it brings cinema and theatre back to Chester city centre after a decade long absence.
Footloose, 5th–9th September
Jon Richardson, 19th September
Tales of Offenbach, 22nd-23rd September
Joel Dommett, 26th September
All or Nothing, 27th-30th September
Stewart Lee, 3rd October
Cockfight, 7th October
Blood Brothers, 9th–14th October
Tangomotion, 18th October
Jenny Eclair, 19th October
Kate Rusby, 20th October
Rich Hall, 21st October
BalletBoyz, 30th October
Spamalot, 31st October-4th November
Things I Know to be True, 7th-11th November
Tickets for the touring season are on sale now - visit storyhouse.com or call 01244 409 113 to find out more.