2014 is shaping up to be one of the busiest years in the history of acclaimed Chester performing arts group Theatre in the Quarter.
They will end the year staging another of their spectacular Christmas shows when Alice in Wonderland follows in the footsteps of previous seasonal hits The Snow Queen and A Christmas Carol.
During the late summer and early autumn, the company toured railway-related venues throughout the region with their First World War commemorative production of Over By Christmas.
But at the moment, Theatre in the Quarter’s attention is focussed on another war-related presentation, Silent Night, which is embarking on an extensive tour of the county between now and the start of December.
Theatre in the Quarter continues its association with the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Centenary Progamme with Silent Night, the incredible story of events leading up to the Christmas Eve truce of 1914.
The production will tour to a total of 24 venues in Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and Yorkshire this autumn.
It’s the evening of December 24, 1914 on the Western Front. Along the miles of trenches, wet and freezing men face each other in stalemate.
Then, over the temporary halt in gunfire, voices from both sides of No Man’s Land begin to talk, sing and break the silent night.
At once moving and entertaining, Silent Night brings to life the human stories of a group of Cheshire soldiers and the families they left behind.
Against a backdrop of archive images, original music and popular songs from the era, Silent Night vividly portrays events surrounding the historic moment when the guns stopped.
Helen Newall is TIQ’s writer-in-residence. An acclaimed playwright and librettist, Helen is also a reader in performing arts at Edge Hill University and maker of sound and visual installation work.
The production is directed by the acclaimed Emma Lucia, an associate director at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in where her most recent work is Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen in the Emlyn Williams Theattre.
Her other productions at Mold include Arms And The Man, Copenhagen, Educating Rita, God Of Carnage, A Doll’s House, Shakespeare’s Will and Oleanna.
Other recent work includes A History of Falling Things (New Vic Theatre); A Journey Through Cornish Poetry, Prose And Music with Susan Penhaligon; and Richard Bucket Overflows with Clive Swift (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and national tour).
Designer Judith Croft has worked extensively in the North West, including many productions as head of design for the Library Theatre, Manchester; 12 rock and roll pantos for Clwyd Theatr Cymru; a series of work for The Lowry and the Chester Mystery Plays, 2008 and 2013.
Her previous work for TIQ includes Home For Christmas and A Christmas Carol.
Matt Baker is TIQ’s founder and artistic director. Matt’s credits as a composer and musical director also include productions for the Dukes Playhouse, Lancaster; The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton and the Chester Mystery Plays 2013.
Silent Night is supported by funding from Arts Council England and the National Lottery, Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils. The production is suitable for audiences aged eight and over.
Established in 2005, Theatre in the Quarter works with professional actors, experienced creative teams and members of the local community to make high quality, original music theatre.
Often performed in new, non-theatrical spaces, its work is inspired by the lives and experiences of the people of Chester and surrounding areas.
Theatre in the Quarter also has two thriving youth theatres, which are specifically focussed on enabling young people to make new and exciting theatre with music. More information can be found at www.theatreinthequarter.co.uk .
Silent Night will feature a choir comprising members drawn from the Chester area. They will perform at all venues except for Tatton Park, Poynton and Congleton, where there will be a choir comprising members of East Cheshire-based Cantata.
The full Silent Night tour schedule is as follows:
Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1 at 7.30pm - St Mary’s Centre, Chester. Visit www.theatreinthequarter.co.uk
Sunday, November 2 at 7.30pm - St Alban’s Church, Tattenhall. Visit www.tattenhallchurch.co.uk.
Tuesday, November 4 at 7.30pm - The Brindley Arts Centre, Runcorn. Visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
Wednesday, November 5 at 7.30pm - Hyde Festival Theatre, Hyde. Visit www.hydefestivaltheatre.org.uk.
Thursday, November 6 at 7pm - Elton Community Centre, Elton. Call 0754 3868278.
Friday, November 7 at 7pm - Ellesmere Port Academy, Ellesmere Port. Visit www.universityceacademy.org.
Sunday, November 9 at 7.30pm - Upton Village Hall. Visit www.uptonbychestervillagehall.org.uk.
Tuesday, November 11 at 1pm and 7.30pm - Tatton Park, Tatton. Visit www.tattonpark.org.uk.
Wednesday, November 12 and Thursday, November 13 at 7.30pm - St Thomas’ Church, Chester. Call 01244 372084.
Friday, November 14 at 8pm - Junction, Goole. Visit www.junctiongoole.co.uk.
Saturday, November 15 at 7.30pm - New Life Church, Congleton. Visit www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk.
Sunday, November 16 at 7.30pm - Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School, Chester. Visit www.bishopschester.co.uk
Tuesday, November 18 at 7.30pm - Blacon High School, Chester. Visit www.blaconhighschool.net.
Wednesday, November 19 at 7.30pm - Darland School in Rossett. Visit www.darland.wrexham.sch.uk.
Thursday, November 20 at 7.30pm - Liverpool Cathedral, Lady Chapel. Visit www.cathedralshop.com.
Friday, November 21 at 1pm - schools only performance at Liverpool Cathedral, Lady Chapel. Visit www.cathedralshop.com.
Friday, November 21 at 7.30pm - Liverpool Cathedral, Lady Chapel. Visit www.cathedralshop.com.
Saturday, November 22 at 7.30pm - Arkholme Village Hall, Arkholme, near Carnforth. Visit www.spotonlancashire.co.uk.
Sunday, November 23 at 2.30pm Fleetwood Library, Fleetwood. Visit www.spotonlancashire.co.uk.
Wednesday, November 26 at 7.30pm - The Vanburgh Theatre, The Kings School, Chester. Visit www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk.
Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28 at 7.30pm - Poynton High School, Stockport. Visit www.phs.cheshire.sch.uk.
Saturday, November 29 at 7.30pm - Kelsall Village Hall, Kelsall. Visit www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk.
Sunday, November 30 at 7.30pm - Mollington Village Hall, Mollington. Visit www.cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk.
Monday, December 1 at 7.30pm The Rose Theatre, The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University. Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre.
Wednesday, December 3 at 1pm - schools only performance at Darland School in Rossett. Visit www.darland.wrexham.sch.uk.
Thursday, December 4 at 2pm - schools only performance at The Hammond School, Chester.
Friday, December 5 at 7.30pm - The Trinity Church, Ellesmere Port. Visit www.trinityellesmereport.org.uk.
Saturday, December 6 at 8pm - Larkhill Community Centre at Timperley. Visit www.larkhillcentre.org.uk.
Schedule correct at time of release but further dates may still be added. The schedule will be regularly updated at www.theatreinthequarter.co.uk.