A new youth theatre will bring Chester’s darkest days to life next week in an unusual venue.
Directed by Steph Green, with music by the company’s artistic director Matt Baker, Masque tells the story of the civil war in Chester seen through the eyes of the powerless people who lived in the city walls. The royalist garrison and the people of the city endured months of fire and bombardment from the Roundheads, and many citizens of Chester died of starvation, before a final surrender in the spring of 1646.
Writer Sarah Weston is studying an MA in Applied Theatre at the University of Manchester and has never written for a youth theatre before.
She said; “I wanted it to be both about the Civil War and relevant to today. It was clear in my mind that civil wars are still happening around the world, and I wanted to look at the way in which the victims of these modern wars compare to the stories of the 17th century people of Chester. This brought out themes such as powerlessness in our piece.”
Director Steph Green, who was assistant director of the Chester Mystery Plays last year, said: “Masque aims to not only break the convention of a historical narrative play but allow the cast to reflect on their own feelings and interpretation of the effects of the events of the war upon THEIR city.
“The company are so wonderful to work with, not only talented and hard working but funny and friendly which makes my job incredibly easy. I've tried to introduce them to styles and techniques they have not encountered before and the response has been inspiring and rewarding.”
Performance of the play in the historic court is thanks to Lord Mayor of Chester, Jill Houlbrook.
Matt said: “We are very grateful to Cllr Jill Houlbrook for having the vision and generosity to enable the city’s young people to showcase their work in this special place.”
Masque will be performed at Chester Town Hall at 8pm on Tuesday 8, Wednesday 9 and Friday 11 April with a matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday, April 12. Tickets will be available on the door or by calling 07747 110933.
Young people interested in joining Quartz should email Julieelston09@aol.com.