Chester Culture – 2014 Moments.

What sort of year was 2014?  Music, theatre and monsters.  Yeah, really…

But I was looking through some photos a few days ago and spotted one from years ago, when I was new to Cheshire, let alone Chester.  I’d been in the city centre and I’d clearly been inspired enough to take a photo. Of the Eastgate Clock.

But places are like people and our relationships, over time, well they get more complicated. (My simplest Chester fix is still to walk down Northgate when it’s quiet. It’s like holding hands with the city.)

The more you look at a City then the more you find.

So here are my Chester top ten moments for this year. (Ask me in another hour or on another day and it might well have been different but there you go.)

In no particular order:

  1. Minerva Youth Theatre

Minerva is accessible theatre, aimed at under 18s. The practise of theatre from the basics up, the opportunity to act and think about what stands behind a performance.  I’ve been lucky to see their performances and my kids have taken part in their workshops.  Minerva are very good at what they do.

2. Funky Aardvarks

Here’s where it is at for physical art. Either making or admiring or even with a mind to buying and possessing.

We took our 9 year old for her birthday to make felt monsters. Squishy soap, plastic bags and lots of working the loose wool fibres to make felt. Absolute heaven.

  1. John Bramwell at Telfords, February

I Am Kloot front man, John Bramwell, has one of those rare voices that reaches into you. It wouldn’t probably matter what he sang, but that he sings his own material and is an amazing storyteller is definitely a bonus. He holds and possesses a room; stellar.

Telfords’ is one of those places our out of town friends worship; we shouldn’t forget what a gem of a place it is.

  1. Alexander’s and Northgate Festivals

We managed to get to two of the Alexander’s festivals this year, one early May and one in June. The programming for all of them was very different ranging from very music centred to broader arts and history formats.

The early May festival saw a double stage set up, some great bands. (Saw for the first time the very lovely Hedgegods ‘an analogue dance band from Wales that fuse together Gypsy Jazz, Ska, Polkas, Skiffle, Waltzes, Tribal Rhythms, Flamenco, House, Hoedowns,’… )

Both festivals do that rare thing of being for all age groups. I don’t want to see Childrens Events and Adults Events all the time, I think culture is something where we share things that we all enjoy.

And the sun shone.

  1. Fiddle D Dee

A fiddle workshop group. I turned up, knowing not a soul, early in the year. They’re friendly, welcoming and I’ve learned masses. Also ventured out to a mandolin workshop too. Fab. If you play fiddle, give it a go!

  1. Chester Fringe

Local is where it is at, because in the end, it is all there is. If we don’t support and create here, then nothing grows, nothing builds on what has gone before. This place is ours. And that’s what Fringe is about. I got out both to Music Fringe on 8th October and to the Earth Fringe open mic on 10th October. There’s so much talent in this city of ours and it’s great to see people coming together.

  1. Winter Watch Parade

On two dates before Christmas join in with the parade. To invoke the history of the city and join Karamba Samba as the ‘ghost band’ lead a fun parade of skeletons, Christmas cooks, angels and devils as they celebrate the Winter solstice

Watch out for the dates for this and the Midsummer Watch parades on the Chester Culture blog!

  1. Chester Performs, The Secret Garden

We went to the Theatre in the Park to see this beautiful working of The Secret Garden Story. A great spectacle, again with the ambition of appealing to a wide audience. This performance included some spellbinding puppetry.

  1. The Reads at The Live Rooms

The Reads made my head spin with possibility from the first time I heard them. And oddly, what with them being local, I waited more than a year to hear them live. (Then I managed a couple of times within a couple of months, but there you go.)

I reviewed them for Chester Culture here Read it, go see them. Use the Live Rooms, it’s ace.

  1. Chester Micro Plays

It’s been an absolute privilege to be involved with this and we put on two public performances this year. Check out the website here:



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