Members of Chester Theatre Club’s Youth Theatre will be taking a step back in time for their latest presentation Ordinary Routine, showing at the Chester Little Theatre in Newtown on February 13 and 14 at 7.30pm.
Until 1960, the Gloucester Street building which the theatre now occupies was a junior school – Christ Church School, opened in 1843 and serving the Newtown area of Chester. And the new town, with its narrow streets of terraced houses, was built to house the families of workers on the newly-arrived railway.
A treasure of interesting historical facts, characters and events was waiting to be mined to create a new drama for the youth theatre group.
Youth leaders Jenny and Paul Shryane spent many hours in the Chester Records Office reading the log books of Christ Church School’s headteachers covering nearly 100 years from 1863 through to 1960 when the school eventually closed.
They also interviewed former pupils and local residents. The oldest living ex-pupil was 92-year-old Jim Collorick who was able to provide them with a wealth of memories, not only of Christ Church School itself but also the local community.
The resulting drama – Ordinary Routine - combines fact and fiction and traces the history of the school in a series of snapshots seen through the eyes of the people associated with it.
The group has modelled their piece on cabaret style performances and drama such as Oh What a Lovely War where humour and history are combined in a lively fashion.
‘Ordinary routine’ refers to the phrase used in the headteachers’ log books to signify that nothing of any great significance had taken place in school.
However, the play shows how major national events such as the First World War, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the struggle for equal access to education impacted on both the school and the local community.
The play is a celebration of Christ Church School and Newtown.
This is a largely ignored area of Chester and the group hopes it will give the audience an insight into its hopes, struggles and achievements.
The play can be seen in the Salisbury Studio at the Chester Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown.
Tickets are £3, available on the door, which will include a cup of tea and cake.
For more details go to www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org.