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Chester St Mary's Creative Space celebrates festive season success

Record numbers attending cabaret, classical music and young people’s theatre at city centre venue

Matt Baker leads the audiences in his Christmas Cracker

A new musical called Rudolph, an original re-telling of The Elves and The Shoemaker by a Blacon theatre company, internationally renowned wind ensemble and a sequined Santa Claus leading hundreds of singers in a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

These were just some of the highlights which have attracted sell out audiences to a city arts venue this December.

Promoters at St Mary’s Creative Space have been having to turn people away as record numbers of people have been attending a range of performances including cabaret, classical music and young people’s theatre.

Chester St Mary's Creative Space filled with hundreds of young voices

Last week two young people’s theatre companies came together for the first time to stage a double bill of original theatre.

Jigsaw Music Theatre and Rewind, both run by Theatre in the Quarter, came together to create an evening of new work under the title The Night Before Christmas.

Rewind Youth Theatre is made up of children who attend school in Blacon.

Ruby Nightingale sings a solo in Jigsaw Music Theatre's original mini musical Rudolph

Delivered by Theatre in the Quarter in partnership with Cheshire Dance, the young company, now in its third year, performed a brand new piece of theatre set in a toy shop on Christmas Eve.

The piece which charmed the audience brought together energetic and creative dancing with their own versions of The Twelve Days of Christmas, a mini musical based around the Elves and the Shoemaker and some beautiful renditions of Christmas carols.

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The play was immediately followed by Jigsaw Music Theatre’s new version of Rudolph.

Based on the original 1938 story by Robert Lewis May, Jigsaw members wrote a complete set of lyrics and turned the piece into a musical.

The piece was performed by children who are drawn from across the city and beyond, and featured Rudolph’s own heart wrenching solo ‘Why am I different?’ which was performed by Ruby Nightingale of Garden Quarter, Chester.

Dave Williams, former chair of the Blacon Education Village said: “It was a brilliant production which brought young people from all corners of the city together to create and perform together. It was very moving seeing both companies take the stage together for the finale, and the standing ovation that both groups received was the very least they deserved.”

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The theatre double bill was preceded earlier in the week by another sell out performance hosted by the Chester Music Society.

Internationally acclaimed Aurora Wind Ensemble performed favourites by Rossini and Vivaldi.

David Woods of the Chester Music Society said: “It was a great concert; we had a full house and the audience seemed very pleased with the new tiered seating in the venue.”

Rewind presents The Night before Christmas

The venue came to life once again as Matt Baker attracted record numbers to his annual ‘Christmas Cracker’, an evening of mass festive singing.

The audience was treated to festive fayre while singing all the Christmas favourites, as well as taking part in a ‘Name That Tune’ contest and being entertained by Theatre in the Quarter’s Victorian Choir.

Christmas comes to Chester's Garden Quarter

Matt said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked out on to the stage to see so many people. Before long everyone was up on their feet singing songs from the shows and performing kick lines to New York New York.”

He added: “The roof of St Mary’s nearly blew off with the final rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The evening was promoted by Friends of Theatre in the Quarter, which helps to fund community projects and support young people to take part in theatre programmes.

Over the past 12 months the organisation has raised over £8,000. Audience member and Victorian chorister Evelyn Bates said: “Nobody does it better! Matt was sheer magic. It was a brilliant Christmassy evening and lovely to be part of it.”

St Mary’s promoter Erin Elston said: “We are thrilled with the mix of people who have been coming to the venue in the run up to Christmas; there really has been something for everyone here.”

She added: “The place has looked very Christmassy, and our new seating has certainly added to the magic of the place.”

Matt Baker leads the audiences in his Christmas Cracker

The season continues this week with PurpleCoat Productions bringing their latest piece of Shakespeare to Chester, The Merchant of Venice.

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This will be followed on December 30 by JustSoph; three daytime performances where highly acclaimed actress and musician Sophia Hatfield brings Rudyard Kiplings ‘Just So Stories’ to life in a unique and exciting way which is guaranteed to enchant young audiences.

Ticket information for forthcoming events can be found at www.ticketsource.co.uk/creativemarys or by visiting St Mary’s Creative Space Facbook page.

For more enquiries people can contact 07854 550549.

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