Theatre In The Quarter’s Railway Station Project for WW1 Centenary

(Railway stations in the Cheshire and Greater Manchester region, 7 – 28 September 2014)

During September, working with Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership, Theatre in the Quarter will embark on a journey around railway stations in Cheshire and Greater Manchester to present Over By Christmas, a choral commemoration of the departure of local soldiers to the Western Front in autumn 1914.

Over By Christmas will be at Chester Railway Station on Sunday 14th September 12:00pm and 5:00pm*.  A full schedule of performances is available here

Featuring well-loved songs of the period, Over By Christmas captures the spirit of optimism and patriotism of those leaving their loved ones, perhaps never to see them again. A community choir of ‘soldiers’, ‘nurses’ and their families will recreate this poignant and historic moment, accompanied by live musicians, and featuring local choirs from Chester, Holmes Chapel and Cheshire East. This ambitious site-specific project will involve over 300 people of all ages from across Cheshire and will be performed at a total of 24 locations in the region.

Matt Baker, Artistic Director of Theatre in the Quarter said:
‘It has been a real thrill to see how many people across the county are involved. With the added participation of children from over 20 schools, and the many organisations who are rallying around to support the performances, it is clear that the project has really inspired people across the generations.’

Sally Buttifant, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership Officer added:
‘This project is about remembering local people and the sacrifice that they made, and the journey that began at their local station. It’s reminding people of the importance of the railway network and stations, as communities played their part in this world-changing event.’

Over By Christmas is created by Theatre in the Quarter’s Writer-in-Residence Helen Newall, and the company’s founder and Artistic Director, Matt Baker. As well as being an acclaimed playwright and librettist, Helen is also a Reader in Performing Arts at Edge Hill University; and makes sound and visual installation work, digital sceneography and experimental visual narratives for performance. Matt is also Director of Theatre in the Quarter’s young people’s group, Jigsaw Children’s Music Theatre and Director of award-winning Chester-based community choir A Handbag of Harmonies. He was composer for the highly successful Chester Mystery Plays 2013; and has worked extensively as a composer and musical director, including productions for the Dukes Playhouse, Lancaster and Nuffield Theatre, Southampton.

Over By Christmas is a free event and part of the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Centenary Project. The production is supported by Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership, Chester Business Club, Jane Lewis Health and Social Care, Merseyrail, Virgin Trains, Arriva Trains Wales, Northern Rail, and East Lancs Railway.

I just love the idea of using such an unusual space for performance, great to have it here in Chester and a poignant way to remember and empathise with the community at that time. We’re very much looking forward to seeing it.

For more details visit the Theatre in The Quarter website. 


(*Exact times/dates may be subject to subject to change, please check their website before you attend.)

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