Die and Nala become first people to perform at Chester’s new Cultural Centre

Something magical happened today in Chester.

The very first live musical performance ,within the space of the transforming Chester Odeon, took place.  Organized by Chester Writers in cooperation with Chester Fringe for the Chester Literature Festival.

Performing were author Die Booth and musician Nala.

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The guests were welcomed to the busy site of Chester new cultural centre and invited in by site manager Dan and his team. We were all given the appropriate safety gear to wear including, hi vis vest, helmet, safety goggles, gloves and boots! Amazing. Once everyone was suited up it was time for the tour.

Dan took us into the space of the Odeon

and then led us into what will be the first floor of the library space.

It was here that the magical performances of Die and Nala took place. First up was Nala who performed two of his original songs. He has such a great voice and bellowed out the tunes while playing guitar.

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Nala then swapped places with the talented Die. She read the eager audience a beautiful short story. I definitely was swept away to another place while Die read her story. The story is captivating and moving. It will be published soon by Firewords magazine. You can also read more about Die’s work on her blog: https://diebooth.wordpress.com/blog/

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Nala performed two more songs to finish off the show. So much talent!

These two had the honour of being the fist artists to perform at Chester new Cultural Centre. A true Chester Fringe experience too with the unusual venue and extraordinary circumstances.

Before leaving we heard a few words from Suzanne, director of Chester Writers, who thanked everyone for attending. She also thanked Chester Performs and their team for allowing us all to experience this unique event.

Nala, Suzanne and Die
Nala, Suzanne and Die

Chester Writers have an event coming up this Saturday– please see this link for more info.


It will be a “Storybout”  of readings throughout Chester. The day begins at 10am at Becknick’s on Brook St and ends with a 7pm show on Watergate St rows at Liquor and Co.

Keep up the good work all. Looking forward to hearing more from Die, Nala , Chester Writers , Chester Fringe and Chester Performs. Working together to make Chester’s Culture so varied and rich.

Photos of the day:

safety check before going in
safety check before going in
first look inside the old Odeon Cinema
first look inside the old Odeon Cinema
Mark Williams- ready to go!
Mark Williams- ready to go!
a look up at the seating area in the new theatre
a look up at the seating area in the new theatre

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The new Theatre
The new Theatre
Thanks to Dan - site manager
Thanks to Dan – site manager

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Stay Tuned for….. The upcoming CHESTER FRINGE!!

FringeFlyer TomBaxterTom Baxter

The Chester FRINGE!!

Chester Fringe this year will be on the weekend of 19-21st June. The weekend will be focused on

music and there will be another weekend in October focusing on other arts. Chester Fringe was

reborn 2 years ago as a cultural response to the Chester Rocks festival which is now no more.

The Fringe aims to offer something different and tries to be different each time. The Fringe has a

good record of selecting acts with notable appearances from Milly Pye & Natalie McCool


This year we are introducing Tom Baxter to Chester, taking over the bandstand, hosting the best

local talent in a stripped back acoustic performances & a very special pop-up show by Operation

Lightfoot showcasing their piece Solfall.

The Fringe aims to add to culture in the city and is run on a zero budget with goodwill from acts &

volunteers. Like quantum theory the Fringe really only happens if you turn up!

FRIDAY 19th June 7PM

Tom Baxter with support from Gary Jones at Alexander’s – £15 advance tickets

SATURDAY 20th June

Bandstand Takeover! from 2-5:30pm  with Glasswalkers plus guests FREE!

Acoustic & Roots  open session 7:30pm in the  upstairs room  at the Lock Keeper featuring the best local talent

performing stripped bac! £3 ENTRY

SUNDAY 21st June

Bandstand Takeover! from 1-5PM with Operation Lightfoot plus guests FREE

Open Mic at Telfords from 7PM with ‘special guest star’ pop-up by Operation Lightfoot performing

Solfall  – FREE ENTRY


Chester Fringe Programme 14-16 June

Here it is. Give the Fringe some love and the occasionally hug this weekend.

Friday 14th June


1730 / Mini Market opens
1730 / Drummer / Entrance to Rufus Court & Courtyard Stage
1800 / Beards & Paisley / Courtyard Stage
1830 / Milly Pye / Courtyard Stage
1900 / Official launch by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester, Bob Rudd
1915 / Ben Stafford / Inside Stage
1940 / Natalie McCool / Courtyard Stage
2005 / Science of the Lamps / Inside Stage
2030 / Matthew Breen / Courtyard Stage
2055 / Nightowl / Inside Stage
2125 / Nightflies / Inside Stage
2150 / Raffle & changeover
2205 / Plump Junction / Inside Stage
2245 / Between States / Inside Stage
2325 / Blue Movies / Inside Stage
Till 0200 / Upbeat Party Playlist / Inside & Courtyard Stages

£3 entry after 2100

Mad Hatters Cafe (1930 – 2230)

Bexi Owen – Sensational Showgirl
Tom Dickins – Musical Man via skype
The Philosophy – Gothic Fusion  Belly Dancers
Angel T’Lite – Burlesque Belle
John Holt – Close Up Magic
Suzie Sequin – Burlesque Belle
I Have Your Heart – Short Film (UK Premiere)

Minimum £5 donation to the MacMillan Cancer Support. Contact @aisfornala for further details.

Saturday 15 June

Bandstand by the river

The Ellipses will be playing throughout the day

Pitcher & Piano

1600 / Cocktail Masterclass


Sticky Soles + support / The Cellar

Catfish & the Bottleman; the Maydays / Telfords

Comedy Live! with Vince Atta / Alexander’s

Queen Beats Jack / Ye Olde Kings Head

Sunday 16 June

Bandstand by the river 1400 – 1800

Tom Monohan, Sue Bargh, John Williams & Phillippa York


Ken Moodie, Chris Roach, Kenny Blake, Izzy Ryder & Phillip Allan

Pitcher & Piano

1600 / Cocktail Masterclass


Belly Dancing / The Cellar

Glam Rock Open Mic / Telfords

You can get up to date news about these events via @chesterfringe on Twitter. Make sure you share your views, reviews, pictures and videos, and remember to use the #chesterfringe tag.

See you there.

Why I started the Chester Fringe

Today, we hear from Mark Williams, the man behind the Chester Fringe (14-16 June). We’ll post the full Fringe programme next week. Enjoy…

Don’t you think this city deserves a vibrant cultural Fringe festival?

About 100 days go now, I had the idea that as Chester has the Rocks festival at the race course on the weekend of the 15-16 June, and as many people bemoan that lack of culture in the city for local people, that perhaps a Fringe would be a good idea as this would allow me to do something positive about it.  So I set up a twitter account to sound out the idea and had 200 followers within 3 weeks as they all liked the idea.

The plan was simple; venues and pubs in the city decide to put on live alternative entertainment of whatever fashion they choose over the Rocks weekend and call it Chester Fringe. And bands or acts can go find a pub and ask if they can do a fringe event. And regulars ask if they can help put on something in their pub. And local people can approach venues to ask if they can host their event!

This way there was no need for direction or committees and everyone does what they want. I am happy to say that a few like-minded folk have joined in and there will be events occurring in a few pubs all over the city.

This is the first year of an all new Chester Fringe so we are trying out a few things where we have keen volunteers and interested venues; a big launch party at Alexander’s with tons of live bands, belly dancers at the Cellar, Glam Rock open mic at Telford’s, unplugged local bands at the Bandstand by the river, cocktail master classes in Pitcher & Piano, to name but a few! So turn up and enjoy.

We will be working on making next year bigger and better.

Mr Mark A Williams

Chester Rocks On