A city arts venue is about to be bursting at the seams with theatre, film and music throughout the spring months.
Following a successful winter season which enjoyed record numbers of performers and audiences, St Mary’s Creative Space in Chester city centre will open its doors to an array of touring theatre companies, including one from as far away as Melbourne, young people’s theatre, top UK musicians, film screenings and the launch of a new LGBT choir for Cheshire.
This season will see the arrival of new state of the art seating which has been made possible thanks to a grant from New Homes Bonus with match funding from Chester Operatic, Film and Music Societies as well as Theatre in the Quarter.
St Mary’s Creative Space is fast becoming a thriving venue which complements the other city’s cultural venues in offering a range of events to suit a very diverse audience.
The venue is a deconsecrated Grade 1 listed church which is located in a tranquil corner of the city close by to Chester Castle.
Now equipped with adaptable staging and new seats, St Mary’s is a home for well established organisations such as Chester Operatic Society, Chester Music Society, Chester Film Society, Soundbox, Roman Candle Promotions and Theatre in the Quarter as well as many dance companies, cabaret organisations and delightfully peculiar Chester Wizard School.
It also promotes first class theatre through its partnerships with Cheshire Rural Touring Arts among other theatre companies across the country and further afield.
Musical highlights for spring include top national and international rock and folk artists such as Matthew Logan Vasquez, former front man of Delta Spirit (February 8), Howie Payne, otherwise known as singer/songwriter for The Stands (March 2), the astoundingly haunting singer songwriter Katie von Schleicher (April 27), and highly acclaimed acoustic guitarists and singer songwriters Tom Brosseau and Tom Blackwell (May 5) all promoted by Roman Candle Promotions.
The much-loved Soundbox will be hosting internationally renowned BBC Folk award nominees Melrose Quartet (May 3).
Both Soundbox and Roman Candle have enjoyed sell out success in bringing outstanding artists to Chester over the past few years.
Meanwhile, long established Chester Music Society will be welcoming leading pianist Graham Scott (February 9) amongst a wealth of regional and national classical musicians in its series of concerts which almost always fill the venue to capacity.
Over the past two years the venue has played host to a wealth of choirs from as far as California, Zimbabwe and The Phillipines as well as nurturing talent from Chester.
This year St Mary’s is delighted to be hosting the beginnings of a new LGBT Choir for Chester, beginning on February 12.
This spring will see an even greater range of unique theatre events.
In March, St Mary’s will welcome Backyard Theatre Ensemble all the way from Melbourne who will present Missing in Me, (March 3) a play which explores what it like to be young in today’s world.
Box of Tricks Theatre Company will be bringing the most unique experience, described as ‘an immersive love story set in a chippy’ called Chip Shop Chips (March 1) which also includes a fish and chip supper during the play.
The nationally acclaimed Farnham Maltings Theatre Company return to Chester with their new piece called Brave Folk (March 8) which is described as ‘an evening of story and song in which Yorgjin Oxo is a Marshlander who can tell a person by the sound of their squelch and is unlike any hero we might actually need.
Thomas Crowe’s script fizzes with humour, larger-than-life characters and explores a place quite unlike our own.
Later in March Zoo Company will bring ‘an explosive and absurd adventure into adulting’ called Giant (March 23).
Meanwhile Theatre in the Quarter’s young theatre makers will be bringing the mediaeval tale of King Edward I and Llewelyn Prince of Wales to life in a brand new musical play entitled The Iron Ring of Fortresses (March 25/26).
Venue promoter Matt Baker is excited about the array of events this spring.
He said: “The long established city organisations such as the operatic, music and film societies continue to bring wonderful things into the venue, and now with so many other partners and touring companies St Mary’s really offers so much diversity; LGBT choirs, performers with additional needs, cabaret artists from across Europe and young people from a range of backgrounds.
“This spring we will be hosting some delightful and truly unique theatre pieces, as well as some absolutely top notch musicians.
“If you haven’t stepped foot in this venue, then there will be several things to delight you as the days start to get longer!”
Matt concluded: “Thanks to the generous support of the venues most regular users, St Mary’s is about to be even more welcoming with its exceptionally comfy new seats! Come and try them out!”
For more information and full listings, visit stmaryscreativespace.co.uk, the St Mary’s Creative Space Facebook page or on Twitter @CreativeMarys.