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Cheshire Rural Touring Arts brings vast array of shows to the people

Theatre, dance, music and family shows heading for community venues throughout the county

The Deluge(Image: Jim Markland)

A new season of arts events, including theatre, dance, music and family shows, will visit Cheshire’s rural venues and libraries this spring.

Cabinet member for communities and wellbeing Cllr Louise Gittins said: “The new season of shows brings an exciting range of performances to venues across Cheshire. We are investing in leisure and culture to make this a great place to live and visit.”

Cheshire Rural Touring Arts ’ (CRTA) season, which features around 40 events from 19 different companies, opened on Friday, February 17 when Lila Dance brought their show The Deluge, inspired by the recent floods that have devastated communities in parts of the UK, to St Mary’s Creative Space in Chester .

The show was the first to be brought to the county through the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, a three year project, supported by Arts Council England, to make and tour dance performances in rural areas.

The Sonia Sabri Company, who perform their show Salaam in Tattenhall in April, will be the second company to perform in the county as part of the initiative.

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In March, French-Canadian company Les Bordéliques bring their wacky show Blind Date, starring two former Cirque Du Soleil performers, to Malbank School and Goostrey. The show is a funny and absurd blend of music and dance bringing us a multitude of characters desperate to find a soul mate.

This season’s Cutting Hedge show is 2Magpies’ Ventoux, a piece of theatre based on the epic drug-fuelled race between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani at the Tour de France in 2000.

The race is restaged using video accompaniment and two road bikes and will be performed at the Lion Salt Works, Northwich and The Fallibroome Academy, Macclesfield in March.

For children, award-winning performance poet Dommy B brings The Boy Who Cried Wolf to Blacon and Handforth libraries in March and Travelling Light’s Sammy and the Snow Leopard visits Tarvin Community Centre in April.

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There’s plenty on offer for theatre fans starting with renowned rural touring company Pentabus and their new show As The Crow Flies, which visits Neston, Gawsworth and Plumley in March.

For those looking for a laugh, Gonzo Moose bring the The Thing That Came From Over There to Wilmslow and Lache before Wincham host Holmes and Watson - The Farewell Tour, both in March.

Melanie Gall brings her astounding voice to Little Budworth and Upton-by-Chester in April, with Piaf and Brel - The Impossible Concert, featuring the songs of two French musical icons.

Later in the season, AJTC Theatre bring The Underground Man to Neston and Goostrey before A Regular Little Houdini from Flying Bridge Theatre Company heads to Faddiley , Great Budworth, Winsford and Ellesmere Port .

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Luke Wright brings his multi award-winning hurricane of a performance What I Learned From Johnny Bevan to Tattenhall and Audlem in May, and Multi Story Theatre Company bring Pericles - All At Sea, based on Shakespeare’s fantastical tale, to Congleton in the same week.

Lightning Under Their Skirts, a new play from former Cheshire Poet Laureate Joy Winkler, based on the monochrome 1950s being pushed aside for a bright new age, travels to Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield , Holmes Chapel and Tarvin in May.

For music lovers, Cheshire favourites Adam Bulley and Chas MacKenzie, formerly known as Wingin It, bring their energy fuelled array of acoustic music to Neston , Alsager and Kelsall in April.

There are two acts travelling over from Canada too with Montreal Guitar Trio in Norley Village Hall and Cuddington and Sandiway Village Hall, before The Fitzgeralds, an award-winning family band, featuring fiddle and step-dance champions, head to Kettleshulme and Mollington .

The final show of the season is Gloriator, a riotously funny piece of theatre from Spitz and Co as a glamorous French actress and her hapless assistant stage their version of Hollywood blockbuster, Gladiator.

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The play travels to Lion Salt Works in Northwich before the final show of the season at Bradwall Village Hall on Saturday, June 10.

Anne Crabtree of Cheshire Rural Touring Arts said: “We’re extremely excited to be able to bring such a high-quality and varied programme to Cheshire this spring, starting with our first ever Rural Touring Dance Initiative performance in Chester. There really is something for everyone and you can expect the warmest of welcomes from our volunteer promoters wherever you go.

“It’ll be lovely to welcome homegrown talent when Cheshire poet Joy Winkler brings her new play Lightning Under Their Skirts to the county and of course we have three companies coming all the way from Canada too. We can’t wait to get started!”

For more information about any of the shows, details on how to buy tickets or to see the full CRTA spring season, visit www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk .

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