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Chester Tip Top Productions announces 10th anniversary season at Forum Studio Theatre

Popular company is celebrating a decade of being based at city centre venue

The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester

A community theatre company is celebrating 10 years at its home in Chester by launching a new season of plays and other events at its popular city centre venue.

Following the closure of the main auditorium of the Chester Gatweway Theatre back in March 2007, local theatre group Tip Top Productions moved in to the building to originally produce just one season of plays in the former Manweb Studio prior to the building being required to make way for the Northgate Development.

Renaming it the Forum Studio Theatre , they set about building up their core audience and bringing new talent to the theatre.

The company have gone on to establish the venue and their popular productions as firm favourites on the Chester arts scene.

Fast foward 10 years and the company, which is run by Tip Top members and a small band of dedicated volunteers, has announced details of its new 2017/2018 season at the Forum Studio which comes at an exciting time for culture and the arts in the city.

The chairman and founder of Tip Top productions, Peter Swingler OBE, said: “When the Gateway closed in 2007 I was its last chair and along with the staff we prepared an exit strategy that would have resulted in demolition of the building and the construction of a new theatre.

“Who would have believed that 10 years later Tip Top Productions, operating as the Forum Studio Theatre, is about to celebrate its continuing activities on the site while joining in with the city’s celebrations as we salute the opening of Storyhouse next month.

“In the meantime the Forum Studio Theatre will carry on presenting community and professional work until the Northgate Development requires the site.”

Highlights of Tip Top’s new season include John Godber’s hilarious take on the English abroad April In Paris from June 7-10, timely political satire Whipping It Up about a Tory government facing dissent over its latest bill from July 5-8 followed by Bette and Joan which tells the story of two of Hollywood’s biggest stars Bette Davies and Joan Crawford. Centering on their insecurities, regrets and grudging respect for each other, the play by Anton Burge will be staged from July 26-29.

Tip Top will also once again be staging Chester’s very own traditional family pantomime which this year is Cinderella with the usual mix of corny jokes, slapstick and popular chart hits thrown in for good measure.

The intimate 130 seater auditorium of The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester

Artistic director Steve Davies said: “We’ve selected a really diverse selection of productions for this season. There are some well known titles as well as some not so well known but we’ve learned that our audience have diverse tastes so we’re sure that this season offers something for everyone.”

Tip Top will also be on tour twice this year, taking two shows to Theatr Clwyd in Mold - Our Day Out by Willy Russell from May 16-20 and Return to the Forbidden Planet in September. Booking details of both these shows can be found on the Theatr Clwyd website.

As a community theatre company, Tip Top hold regular open auditions for their plays and are always keen to welcome new faces whether it be to appear in a play or assist backstage or front of house.

Audition news is updated regularly at www.tiptoproductions.co.uk/auditions .

As well as staging its own plays at The Forum Studio Theatre, Tip Top will also play host to several professional visiting companies from May onwards including Rover, staged by PurpleCoat Productions, a riproaring ride through the carnival of Spain and the pirates prepared to go to any lengths to win the women.

Also in May, Gambolling Arena presents an adaptation of the Stephen King novel Carrie.

Highlights in June include end of year performances by performing arts students of the University of Chester and the return of acclaimed Queen tribute band Gaga as they bring the band’s biggest hits to the Forum for one night only.

The theatre will also be hosting Gimme Abba featuring the music of the Swedish supergroup when the show visits Chester in September as part of a UK nationwide tour.

Details of the full season and how to get involved can be found at www.chestertheatre.co.uk .

Alternatively contact the box office on 01244 341296.

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