A performing arts group based off Ellesmere Port’s historic high street is enjoying a whirlwind summer.
Chalice Productions on Cambridge Road has been out and about around the town’s green spaces and historic buildings with other events taking them to the recently re-opened Chester Castle dating back to the 11th century and to the heart of Manchester.
A modern twist to the magic of a Shakespeare classic saw Chalice launch A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a great outdoor tour in the town.
Artistic director Laura Harris took the show to Rivacre Valley, Whitby Park and The National Waterways Museum working with a number of local council and community services and enterprises.
Over four weeks Laura visited local primary schools, including Cambridge Road and Parklands, working with Year 5 pupils to involve them in the project and the final production tour.
“It’s been great fun delivering the workshops, all of the pupils have been so receptive and enthusiastic,” said Laura. “It’s always exciting getting to see things from their point of view, setting a task and then working with them creatively to develop scenes and ideas. I’m constantly surprised, which is lovely.”
The success of the tour saw Chalice being contacted by the Manchester LGBT Pride Committee and asked to transfer the production to Sackville Gardens in the heart of the city as part of their LGBT Pride Fringe Events Calendar.
The news came as quite a surprise to the team, who still don’t know exactly how the Manchester LGBT Pride team got to hear about the production. “It just goes to show that you can never be certain who is in your audience,” said Laura. The show takes place on Saturday, August 12.
Chalice Productions creative Shakespeare workshops have been introducing youngsters both to creative performance and to the works of William Shakespeare receiving ‘some excellent feedback’ from pupils, teachers and parents/guardians alike.
“I’ve delivered the workshops both locally and much further afield, even visiting schools in the Channel Islands and the response has always been exciting and humbling,” said Laura.
“It’s great to see youngsters getting so enthusiastic about the creative and performing arts. And it’s really wonderful to see them connecting with Shakespeare’s words and stories really understanding them and being excited by them.”
The town’s recent Bikes and Boats festival saw Chalice animating the Boat Museum with Steampunk characters and creating a mystery story treasure hunt that young and not so young visitors could take part in.
“The whole day was wonderful,” said Laura “and our part in particular was incredibly well received by families, the children loved having a mission to complete.”
Chalice have also been asked to run a treasure hunt story again at the museum on August 24 as part of an event for local families.
At Chester Castle Chalice blew the dust off their Walking The Bard promenade theatre performances on Sunday, August 6 which invite visitors to step inside the mind of the master playwright through coming face to face with some of his most comic, tragic and historical characters while touring the site.
“We were extremely excited to be rekindling the tours and to do so at Chester Castle was just tremendous,” said Laura.