Frodsham’s most famous son is returning to home turf for what is probably his first major gig in Cheshire since he rocketed to fame with Take That in the early 90s. His first solo tour in four years kicks off in Edinburgh on April 14 and ends with a homecoming gig at Delamere Forest on June 9. In contrast to the large scale extravaganzas he performs with the band, this tour will feature a series of up close and personal shows. Needless to say, tickets for the Delamere Forest sold out in no time flat, prompting the music superstar to apologise to fans who were disappointed they would not get a chance to see their idol.


The Play That Goes Wrong
The Play That Goes Wrong

This West End and Broadway comedy sensation, in which Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off, is coming to Chester in 2018. The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong does. With celebrity fans such as Ant and Dec and Joanna Lumley, the show comes to the Chester Storyhouse stage from January 29-February 3. Visit https://www.storyhouse.com/event/the-play-that-goes-wrong for details.


A scene from Noah in The Second Coming

Any time when the 13th and 14th century Chester Mystery Plays are staged is a special one as the occasion only comes around once every five years and the countdown is on to the 2018 production which will take place at Chester Cathedral from June 27-July 14. The creative team behind it is absolutely world class - director Peter Leslie Wild, writer Deborah McAndrew and musical director Matt Baker - and they will once again tell the well-known stories from the Bible which include the Creation, Noah’s Flood, the Nativity and The Crucifixion. Tickets are on sale now via the website www.chestermysteryplays.com, by telephone 01244 500959 or in person from Chester Cathedral.


The TV dramatisation by writer Jeff Pope of the rise to fame of universally loved Liverpool singer and presenter Cilla Black, played by Sheridan Smith, has been turned into a stage musical and will be performed to Chester audiences in the New Year. It tells the extraordinary story of the teenage girl from Liverpool whose dreams of stardom led to her becoming one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers of all time. Kara Lily Hayworth has fought off thousands of hopefuls to be named as the girl who will step into the legend’s coveted shoes in the first ever musical about the star’s life. The show comes to Chester Storyhouse from from March 5-10. Visit https://www.storyhouse.com/event/cilla-the-musical.


CarFest North 2017. Picture by Duncan Cowley
Picture by Duncan Cowley

The brainchild of TV and radio presenter Chris Evans, CarFest was first launched in 2012 and in addition to the car-related activities, always manages to attract an incredible line-up of stars from the world of entertainment. Sadly, possibly the biggest name for 2018, comedy legend Peter Kay - who was due to perform a DJ set - has cancelled all his live appearances for the year. But some of the music stars already confirmed for the event at Bolesworth Estate in Tattenhall are 80s sensations Bananarama and Rick Astley, soul superstar Billy Ocean, the eternal nutty boys of Madness and CarFest regulars Texas among many others. The festival takes place from July 27-29. For tickets, visit www.seetickets.com or www.carfest.org.


A Midsummer Night's Dream at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre in Chester. Picture by Mark McNulty
Picture by Mark McNulty

It wouldn’t be summer in Chester without the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and that has been the case now since the concept’s relatively humble beginnings back in 2010. Now it is an event which regularly sells out most of its performances thanks to its unforgettable atmosphere, ingeniously designed temporary theatre and the high quality of production which has become a hallmark of the season year in and year out. What’s more, producers Storyhouse have already announced what we can look forward to for the 2018 line-up which runs from July 14-August 26: a new adaptation of the children’s classic Swallows and Amazons plus two Shakespearean gems - The Tempest and, appropriately enough, the eternally popular romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing which was the first play ever produced in the park back in 2010. Visit https://www.storyhouse.com/gpoat.


The former library building in Northgate Street has been lying idle since Storyhouse opened with the exception of a period when it played host to an art exhibition. But if all goes according to plan, it should be open and occupied by the end of 2018 - as a restaurant! Cosy Club wants to open a quirky and eccentric venue in the first phase of the £300m Northgate regeneration scheme. The 180-cover restaurant will be on the ground and first floor levels of the former library. An all-day café-bar operation with an eclectic style, the venue will offer breakfasts, coffees and lunches before morphing into a restaurant-bar for evening trade. No definite opening date has been set yet but brand owners Loungers have taken the unit on a 15-year lease and have said they expect to open during 2018.


This event seems to get bigger and more popular every year and it was only recently announced that the 2018 event will take place on Saturday, August 11. As usual, most of the activity will be based in the Castle Square but one of the highlights of the day is always the colourful and exuberant parade that makes its way through the city centre and will get under way at noon before the festival itself which runs from 1-7pm. No big names have been announced yet but the 2017 event featured B*Witched, Sonia and Saffron from Republica among others. For more details visit www.chesterpride.co.uk.


Chester Racecourse has already announced details of all of its race meetings for 2018 which includes a shake-up for the curtain raising May Festival which runs from May 9-11. The big news is that the 2018 Chester Cup Day will take place on the Friday (May 11) rather than the Wednesday which has always been tradition. Wednesday, May 9 will now be City Day while Ladies Day will still be held on the Thursday (May 10). The other race days for 2018 are: Saturday, May 26 (Roman Day), Saturday, June 16 (Summer Saturday), Friday, June 29 (Ladies Evening), Saturday, June 30 (Summer Festival), Friday, July 13 (Ladies and Gents Evening), Saturday, July 14 (City Plate Day), Saturday, July 28 (Midsummer Meeting), Sunday, August 5 (Family Fun Day), Saturday, September 1 (Ladies Day), Friday, September 14 (Autumn Festival), Saturday, September 15 (Autumn Festival), Saturday, September 29 (Season Finale). Visit http://www.chester-races.co.uk for details.


Just a few short years ago, whoever would have thought Chester would be able to welcome a legendary stage musical spectacular like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita? Thanks to the arrival of Storyhouse, this is just one of the major highlights of the cultural centre’s first ever spring programme. Starring as Eva Peron is one of musical theatre’s most exciting leading ladies, Emma Hatton, who recently played Elphaba in Wicked. Joining her is leading Italian performer Gian Marcho Schiaretti as Che, whose previous theatre credits include the title role in Disney’s production of Tarzan. The show can be seen in Chester from April 17-21. Visit https://www.storyhouse.com/event/evita.