Innovative city arts organisation Theatre in the Quarter is gearing up to present its first-ever Christmas festival in the picturesque setting of Chester’s St Mary’s Creative Space.

This ambitious two-month long programme includes theatre, dance, cabaret, concerts, choirs, cinema, arts and crafts, children’s shows and festive singalongs.

It is the largest project that TIQ has undertaken at St Mary’s since it became responsible for curating and delivering a two-year programme of work for the venue earlier this year.

Theatre and drama highlights include Gavin Robertson in Bond, a physical cartoon-style adventure; the Twelfth Night Double Bill – two festive plays from TIQ’s Jigsaw and Quartz youth theatres; The Alternative Christmas Stocking, a day of drama, dance and music from Minerva Arts youth theatre; and a stage version of Frank Capra’s classic 1946 movie It’s A Wonderful Life, presented by Farnham Maltings.

A vibrant and diverse dance programme includes traditional Kathak and Bollywood dance workshops and performance from the internationally-renowned Kajal Sharma, passionate flamenco from Dancing Devas and an evening of creative dance from Chester’s Homegrown Dance Theatre, which has been commissioned especially for the festival.

There’s also seasonal cabaret from musical double act Shoo Shoo Baby, fast-paced, high energy magic from Paul Dabek; and Quirky Christmas Cabaret from three astounding divas, plus special guests A Handbag of Harmonies.

Quirky Christmas Cabaret from three astounding divas comes to St Mary's in Chester
Quirky Christmas Cabaret from three astounding divas comes to St Mary's in Chester

The extensive programme of music and singing features performances from the region’s finest choirs, including Joy to the World, two evenings of choral seasonal celebration, and Angel Voices, a series of festive concerts from school choirs from across Cheshire West.

Classical music includes the acclaimed Fibonacci Sequence Chamber Ensemble, performing works by Schubert, Mozart and Rossini, and two of the UK’s rising young artists Jessie Ann Richardson (cello) and Simon Callaghan (piano), with a concert of works by Schubert, Phibbs, Rachmaninov and Franck.

There’s an acoustic journey through seasonal songs over the centuries in Deck The Halls and TIQ’s artistic director Matt Baker will present his Christmas Cracker, a delightful Christmas singalong designed to get everyone in the festive spirit.

Film highlights include the Sunday Cinema Club, offering double bills of classic Christmas and family movies such as Paddington/The Night Before Christmas; Meet Me in St Louis/Gremlins and Elf/The Muppet Christmas Carol. There will also be a special screening of Singalong-a-Frozen.

Local school and community groups will have the opportunity to work with artists Ali Pitt and Pat Tripney to create large-scale pieces of artwork which will be displayed at St Mary’s throughout the festival.

Keen crafters can also join props and sculpture artist Russell Kirk for prop making, followed by a parade with a Midwinter Watch theme.

Theatre in the Quarter artistic director Matt Baker
Theatre in the Quarter artistic director Matt Baker

TIQ artistic director Matt Baker said: “If there is one place in Chester where you are bound to be filled with Christmas spirit it is the delightful St Mary’s Creative Space.

“Never before will one venue have offered so much festive variety in our city. This is possible because of the fabulous partnerships we have struck up with Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, Chester Music Society and so many organisations, choirs and schools across the area.

“This is a beautiful but intimate space and so early booking is advised, as tickets will be limited and in great demand!”

For more information, including full listings, prices and details of how to book, visit