Graham O’Mara, the actor who became a favourite with Chester crowds at this summer’s record breaking Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, is returning to the city for a special literature festival event this month.
The actor played Weasel in Wind and the Willows and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet during the hugely popular season which ended in August.
He will reunite with Chester Performs’ Alex Clifton who is directing him in a specially commissioned performance of poet and National Theatre playwright Tony Harrison’s 1991 Gulf War poem A Cold Coming.
Harrison himself will be at the Chester Literature Festival event on October 18 to discuss the poem and to read many of his other celebrated works with his partner, actor Sian Thomas (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, BBC’s Merlin).
Alex Clifton, artistic director of Chester Performs, said: “This is set be a stunning evening of poetry that you won’t find anywhere else and that gives a rare chance to see and hear one of the finest poets writing in English today. Plus we’re absolutely thrilled to be welcoming back Graham to Chester which is fast becoming his second home!”
Taking place in Chester Town Hall and the borough’s libraries, the Chester Literature Festival boasts a diverse range of speakers and a formidable programme of more than 50 events, with something to suit everyone’s taste.
As well as A Cold Coming, the festival will stage many other performance events. On October 15, Edinburgh fringe sensation Austentacious will be in Chester, performing an improvised version of a Jane Austen novel on stage, the whole story being based on the audience’s suggestions.
On Friday, October 16, Mark Grist and Luke Wright will host a Poetry Pub Crawl, an event that was a sell-out hit last year. Audiences will join the pair as they take a tour of the city’s cosiest pubs serving up some first class poetry.
Rachel Parris, one of the actors from Austentacious, will go solo on October 16 to perform her new one woman show Best Laid Plans and Manchester-based performance artist Chanje Kunda will perform her piece Amsterdam; the production was recently nominated for a Manchester Theatre Award.
Molly Naylor and John Osborne, writers of Sky One’s upcoming new sitcom After Hours, are on stage with their funny, life-affirming poetry at the heart of a new touring show.
The ancient art form of storytelling takes centre stage on Tuesday, October 20, when The Devils Violin, a group made up of musicians and storyteller Dominic Kelly, will perform their new tale called The Forbidden Door.
Singer songwriter Gavin Osborn has his Chester debut on Saturday, October 24. Osborn has toured with Belle and Sebastian, written with the award winning comedian Daniel Kitson and performed at the London Apollo and Edinburgh Festival.
The 2015 Chester Literature Festival also presents speakers such as Nick Frost, Dom Joly, Vince Cable and Brian Blessed as well as the literary big-hitters such as Deborah Moggach, Simon Armitage, Claire Harman and David Harsent.
Festival goers can take part in a borough wide Memory Project, in collaboration with libraries in Cheshire, and there’s an extensive programme for aspiring and established writers, plus the festival fringe – a wrap of events happening in Chester during the fortnight long festival.
For more information and to book visit www.chesterperforms.com/literature.
Which Chester Literature Festival events are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments box below.