THEATRE COMPANY IN TIP TOP SHAPE AS NEW SEASON IS ANNOUNCED
Written by Paul Crofts, Tip Top productions
A Chester based theatre company run solely by a small band of dedicated volunteers has announced an ambitious new season of plays and other productions at The Forum Studio Theatre in the city centre.
When local theatre company Tip Top Productions moved in to the former Chester Gateway Theatre building back in 2007 initially for just 12 months prior to the building being demolished to make way for the Northgate development, no-one could have predicted that 8 year later they would be still producing plays, musicals and other events in the building’s studio theatre, playing to packed houses and hosting numerous local community groups, visiting companies and professional touring shows each year since.
The group recently held a social event complete with funfair style games and hotdogs to launch their new season of productions at the theatre which has been dubbed “Chester’s hidden gem”. The evening was opened by the Chair of Tip Top Productions, Peter Swingler OBE who welcomed everyone before handing over to Artistic Director Steve Davies who outlined details of Tip Top’s exciting and ambitious 2015/16 Season.
Opening the season and running from 17th – 26th September is comedy drama “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling. With its all female cast, the play was adapted into a highly successful film in 1989 starring Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts. Musical theatre then takes centre stage from 15th – 24th October with a production of acclaimed musical “Love Story” with musical numbers by Howard Goodall of Vicar of Dibley theme fame. Based on the film of the same name, the musical received rave reviews when staged in the West End, directed by Michael Ball.
Following “Love Story” the theatre will once again echo to cries of “He’s behind you!”as Tip Top stages Chester’s very own traditional family Pantomime, now a firmly established favourite in the City’s calender of festive events. This year the company are staging “Dick Whittington” at the theatre from 4th – 30th December and with tickets already on sale, producers are urging panto fans to book early.
Musical theatre and comedy are amongst the highlights for the first half of 2016 with a Youth production of the hard hitting Tony Award winning Broadway musical “Rent” to be staged 11th – 20th February, following the company’s critically acclaimed staging of their first ever youth production, “Les Miserables” earlier this year. A much loved comedy classic takes centre stage from the 17th – 16th March as Tip Top say “hello campers!” with a production of the BBC TV comedy “Hi-de-Hi”, featuring all the characters from the iconic show.
Other highlights being produced by Tip Top Productions at the theatre during 2016 include “This is my Musical” a musical theatre compilation show, a production of Alan Bennett’s “Talking heads” and a concert version of much loved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma”. The theatre will also once again be playing host to a number of visting professional and touring shows yet to be announced.
Tip Top Productions Artistic Director Steve Davies said “We are delighted to be annoucing our new season of live theatre in Chester City centre at The Forum Studio Theatre and we hope that there is something for everyone whether it be comdey, drama or musical theatre. There are lots of volunteer opportunities for people to be involved in helping to run the theatre, be it backstage, performing in show or being front of house, if you have a love of theatre and would like to be part of producing a vibrant mix of high quality productions in the heart of Chester then why not come along and say hello”.
Full details of the 2015/16 season and how to get involved at the Forum Studio Theatre can be found at www.chestertheatre.co.uk where tickets can also be booked online. Alternatively, contact the box office on 01244 341296.
With Thanks from Tip Top and The Forum Studio Theatre