New stage school launches in Chester today! (9th September 2016) #chesterculture


The Diaz Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) launched today for pupils aged 8 to 16 years every Friday during term time between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. Parents can book their first sessions at 50% off the full price!

Based at the Chester Music Theatre premises on Tarvin Road, Boughton, the academy is an exciting fusion of drama, dance and music workshops eventually leading to showcases and productions. There’s also the chance to earn some LAMDA qualifications!

DAPA is designed to encourage an enjoyment of theatre, drama and performing arts, as well as helping pupils develop confidence, teamwork and communication skills. Mr Steven Diaz, Proprietor and Artistic Director, has several years of experience in the industry and has worked with professionals in London, Cheshire and Cambridgeshire.

Steven Diaz – Proprietor of DAPA

Steven comments, “We are the right place for you if you are interested in developing your skills as a performer, whether your passion lies in Drama, Dance or Music; or a mixture of all three! However, we give our pupils much more than just the opportunity to develop their singing, dancing and acting skills. We pride ourselves in the ability to help pupils blossom into mature individuals, ready to embrace all aspects of life with confidence, bravery and resilience.”

Come along to DAPA today or visit for more information. You can also like them on Facebook too!


Storyhouse release timelapse footage of construction of it’s new boutique cinema #chesterculture

Timelapse footage revealing the construction of the cinema box inside Storyhouse, Chester’s brand new cultural centre, has been released.

It took 7 weeks to document the build of the ‘lightbox’ structure that will house the 100 seat ‘boutique’ cinema. It required 150 tonnes of structural steel, 18 tonnes of plasterboard and 96 units of cast glass to complete.

When it opens next year, Storyhouse will integrate state of the art theatres, a cinema, library, café and bars. It brings cinema back to Chester city centre after a 10 year absence.

Alex Clifton, Artistic Director of Storyhouse said ‘This is a fascinating look at Storyhouse’s unique cinema space. The film really captures the scale of the project transforming the Odeon building into a world class cultural centre.’ 

The cinema at Storyhouse will programme a range of independent and mainstream film, to find out more visit

Warning: Dinosaurs are roaming the streets in Chester! #chesterculture

‘You won’t see a tyrannosaur, on the way to the shops. Pretty much all of them have gone the way of Top of the Pops…’

Actually, Biscuithead and The Biscuit Badgers, you’re wrong as dinosaurs are roaring their way into Chester city centre in the shape of two free citywide trails designed to give high street visitors a taste of the Jurassic age, in celebration of Chester Zoo’s popular dinosaur exhibition this summer.

Pre-historic dinosaur fossils and cave finds – many of which were found in the Cheshire region – have been put on display in ten businesses across the city centre as part of a new ‘Dino Chester Trail’. City visitors can pick up a free map to find the fossils, which include a 350 million year old dinosaur footprint, dinosaur bones, shark teeth and a full-size replica Tyrannosaurus Rex skull.

A second ‘Dino Chester Jurassic Facts’ trail launches this Friday (1st July) and will see a range of historic dinosaur facts hidden in a further 40 high street businesses. The trek challenges families to uncover the facts and find the names of ten dinosaurs hiding in the city for the chance to win an annual family pass to Chester Zoo.

To add to the excitement, a life-like Tyrannosaurus Rex from Chester Zoo’s herd of dinosaurs will be making special appearances in the city centre at weekends and Thursday evenings throughout the summer, giving locals and visitors the chance to experience what life was really like when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

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“Having dinosaurs in the city centre is a fantastic addition to our Chester Fiesta events programme this summer and we’re sure it will appeal to people of all ages,” said Julie Charlton, Marketing Manager at CH1ChesterBID, which has partnered with Big Heritage, Chester Zoo and The Grosvenor Museum to deliver this year’s dinosaur-themed trails. “It’s fantastic to have so many of our city centre businesses involved and we believe this campaign will attract thousands of people to our high street, encouraging them to explore new areas of the city and shops they may not have been in before. There are already so many great reasons to visit Chester city centre but with these new dinosaur expeditions, we think this summer will be spectacular!”

City centre locations including Corks Out, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Cotswolds Outdoor and Lakeland all feature on the Dino Chester Trail and the ten fossils have already been put on display within selected stores.

Blackhouse Grill, Deva Travel, Ed’s Easy Diner, Ginger Wine Bar and Deli and Sofa Works are some of the 40 businesses taking part in the ‘Dino Chester Jurassic Facts’ trail, which launches this Friday.

Dean Paton, Managing Director at Chester-based social enterprise Big Heritage, said: “We’ve turned the clock back by more than 400 million years with this new citywide trail and are bringing something that’s fun, exciting and educational to Chester’s high street. The fact that many of the fossils have come from across Cheshire and the Wirral is a huge bonus and it’s fantastic to see them on show for everyone to see in the city centre.”

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Charlotte Smith, head of discovery and learning at Chester Zoo added: “Young or old, people are fascinated by dinosaurs so we’re thrilled to be helping to bring dinosaurs in to Chester city centre with this new citywide trail. The dinosaurs at Chester Zoo have been hugely popular and putting a dinosaur-theme somewhere as historic and iconic as Chester city centre will be a fantastic attraction.”

Both dinosaur trails will be available every day until Sunday 4th September 2016. To find the dinosaurs, city centre visitors need to pick up a free trail map from Chester’s Visitor Information Centre, the Grosvenor Museum, at participating retailers or can download one directly from

#chesterculture – Alexanders Live receives TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Alexanders Live today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.  
Jamie Northrop, owner of Alexanders Live, would to thank all his patrons for their custom and all his staff for their hard work over the past 6 months. Jamie has worked hard to provide a place of excellence for musicians and customers alike and this is a great way to show how the hard work is paying off. Jamie said “It’s been a great few months since the refurbishment of Alexander’s Live and I will continue to work hard with the team to ensure things keep getting even better.”

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers”, said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

#chesterculture – What’s he building in there? New photos and an update on Chester’s new Cultural Centre, Storyhouse.

New photos of Storyhouse, Chester’s brand new cultural centre, taken by Mark Carline show the latest developments behind the hoardings of the country’s largest regional arts project currently under construction.

It is week 64 of the build, from the photographs viewers can see the auditorium where nearly all of the intricate high level electrical and pipework is complete to allow the scaffolding to be shortly removed. It will reveal a unique theatre space that transforms from an 800 seat proscenium arch design to a 500 seat, more intimate thrust.

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The construction of the circle level seating structure is progressing and works to the stalls and upper circle will start shortly.

The cinema enclosure has been formed and the fit out internally has commenced. Films of all types will be screened inside the boutique space, that will show up to 4 films a day.

Externally the copper cladding works are progressing.

Inside the former Odeon building – set to be library spaces, complete with ‘wet room’ for children to play in and study spaces – works are ‘well advanced’ with decoration, flooring and shelving left to complete.

Works are progressing well to the main Odeon space where it is easy to see the new cinema and bar areas taking shape. Externally, the installation of the cast glass is now complete to the north and west elevations and will start shortly on the south.

When the building opens Storyhouse will combine theatre, library, cinema and restaurant spaces.

To find out more visit

#chesterculture – The Gathering 2016 – Sunday 1st May 2016

Spring is coming and music is in the air and thoughts turn to the coming festival season!

The Gathering 2016 is Chester’s very own music and arts festival here found every May Day bank holiday weekend at Alexander’s: Amazing bands and acoustic performers, DJ’s, street artists, stalls and poets: all the stuff you would find at a festival but in the middle of Chester, so don’t miss it!

“The Gathering has simply become one of the best small independent festivals in the northwest and the Gathering 2016 is going to be everything you would expect from a festival but right here in the middle of Chester!” – Northern Shout

Main Stage Line Up:

Broken 3 Ways
Green Room
The Stops
The Instinctive
Dead Pixels
Kindest of Thieves
Jonathan Coley
Ollie Gosling

12973314_10154911626837715_6914465656251199534_oat The Gathering 

Indoor Acoustic Stage
12.00 – Flipside DJ’s
2.00 – Ginger Poetry, Flash Fiction & Dance –
Cal Buckley / Edward Little / Chris Mapp / Rhys Jones / Joshua Cialis
David Subacchii / Nala Rollo / Lucy Jones / Tom Sraz / Emma Apple
4.00 – Peter Douglas
4.30 – Ross Buckley
5.00 – Joseph Leo
5.30 – Bean
6.00 – Special Guest
6.30 – Texas Banjo Massacre


Flipside DJ’s in the The Pop-Up Club
7.00 – Ole Smokey
8.00 – Chris Sutton
9.00 – Daniel Schott
10.00 – Eddie Shields

The Draw Inn at The Gathering: (Street artists and Painting Wall)



Plus Stalls, BBQ, outdoor bar and much, much more.

The Gathering
Sunday 1st May 2016
Midday Onwards
Pay on the door
 18+ – £6.00, 17 to 13yrs – £4.50, 12 to 8yrs – £2.50, Under 7 years free
2 adults and 2 people under 18: £15



Moonlight Flicks – Storyhouse – 5th July to 27th August 2016 – #chesterculture

UntitledFilm fans can once again watch a movie during the popular Moonlight Flicks season at Chester’s Roman Garden from July 5th until August 27th, with over 35 screenings of 9 different films, 5 evenings a week.

Programmed by Storyhouse, the city based arts organisation who will run the cultural centre of the same name, currently under construction on Northgate Street.

The line up with everything from 80s classic Dirty Dancing to post-apocalyptic sci-fi Mad Max Fury Road.

Also in the bill is animated Oscar winner Inside Out, cult hit of 2015 Birdman, romantic drama Brooklyn, iconic road movie Thelma and Louise, tear jerker The Artist, all-time rom-com classic Philadelphia Story and action adventure Jurassic World.

Alex Clifton, Artistic Director of Storyhouse said: “Moonlight Flicks has quickly established itself as a firm favourite in the borough’s summer event calendar. It’s one of those wonderful events that welcomes a real cross section of audiences; families, groups of friends, couples and film buffs. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming movie-goers to the charming Roman Garden once again.

As in previous years Moonlight Flick’s will use wireless headphones to ensure maximum sound quality. Based on last year’s successful season it is expected that over 5000 people will attend the popular outdoor cinema.

Movies are screened from dusk and times vary.

Find out more by clicking here.

Keep your eyes peeled for previews and exact dates and times coming here imminently.imagesCAADBIIJ

Moonlight Flicks
presented by Storyhouse
The Roman Gardens
July 5th until August 27th 2016

#Chester Culture – EXCLUSIVE: Costa Culture Center for Chester’s Rows

We are overjoyed to finally be able to reveal that the empty units on Chester’s rows are to become the world’s first ‘Costa Culture Center’!
An application was last night accepted for this new cultural hub which will see the biggest Costa coffee outlet in the UK, to date, built here in Chester. The new centre is also set to house a multi-million pound student housing development.

Edward Jones, commercial manager for Straw House Developments said:“Through an intense period of consultation and some blue-sky thinking in regard as to what Chester’s residents would like to see in the city centre, we are very excited to be bringing the first Costa Culture Center to Chester. We look forward to bringing this exciting new development to Chester and will shortly be launching a ‘Chester Independent Coffee’ scheme to help support Chester’s thriving coffee scene by giving them our coffee machines for use in their outlets free of charge. By mid 2017, we hope to make Chester the country’s first town to serve, exclusively, only Costa Coffee.’

The centre will offer a 45 seat cinema, Costa-Coffee-Shop-Ft-Out an intimate stage space, a permanent co-working hub, student housing and, of course, the largest Costa Coffee outlet in the UK.

Claire Brown, Cultural Ambassador for Chester and Cheshire West said: “We hope that Chester will open their hearts and arms to Costa’s new exciting project that will attract an additional £23 million a quarter in increased tourism revenue to our city centre. The additional  housing development will finally address the on-going crisis we find Chester facing in regards to housing our students. I am exceedingly excited to see our historic rows finally being brought a new lease of life.’


Costa Culture Center will be opened on May Spring Bank Holiday weekend by Daniel Craig and Ainsley Harriet and will also feature a live musical performance by Russ Abbott.

Costa Culture Center
30th May 2016
Free Entry

#ChesterCulture – Carriage Shed: A New Venue for Chester

Excitement is building as a new public space sets to open outside Chester Railway Station this coming weekend, marking the gateway to the city’s £100m Central Business Quarter.
Designed by urbanism specialists Broadway Malyan and built by MPH Construction, the Grade II listed ‘Carriage Shed’ next to the station has undergone a transformation and will now provide city commuters, residents and visitors with a new space.

Carriage Shed, which will also be used as an outdoor events space, links to Muse Developments’ recently launched 70,000 sq ft office building One City Place and across the Shropshire Union Canal to the £20m Waitrose store and other shops in Boughton.

More than £1.5m has been invested into the new public realm by Cheshire West and Chester Council supported with a grant of £617,550 from the European Regional Development Fund. The transformation includes the renovation of the Coach House, construction of a new Arriva Trains Wales store, a new glass roof, ‘living’ wall, planting and paving.

Carriage Shed will have a dedicated events team and yearly events programme, as it looks to create an alternative venue for Chester’s entertainment. It will showcase everything from live theatre performances to themed monthly markets, which will be open to all residents of Chester as well as providing a unique venue to hire.

To celebrate the start of the events programme and officially launch the space, the public are invited to visit Carriage Shed on Friday 1st April- Saturday 2nd April for a series of events.

Talented North West willow weaver and basketmaker, Cherry Chung will visit Carriage Shed to unveil a one of a kind art installation which will be showcased over a four week period.

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure said: “Not only does the Carriage Shed provide a new sheltered walkway, it will also be available as a performance and activity space. The first activity takes place at the beginning of April when we’ll be welcoming artist Cherry Chung plus food stalls for a family event over three days.”

On Saturday 2nd April the space will feature street food stalls from local traders including Woody’s Pizza, What’s Your Beef?, Cheshire Ice Cream and  Coffee Vintage Co alongside workshops where you can try your hand at weaving.

Over the next 15 years, it is estimated that the Central Business Quarter will create 3,500 jobs, provide 200 new homes and exciting retail opportunities, as well as a new hotel and leisure facilities.

A full list of events can be found on the Carriage Shed website or follow Carriage Shed on Twitter @CarriageShed, Facebook: /CarriageShed and on Instagram: @CarriageShed for more information.

Carriage Shed, next to Chester Station
Opens 1st April 2016

#ChesterCulture – Minerva Arts Presents ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare

Minerva Arts’ Seniors Youth Theatre for ages 11-18 have been working hard to create a show stopping performance, which crashes ashore at the University of Chester this weekend.

The performance space at the Kingsway Campus will be transformed into a new world for an immersive theatre experience, enabling the audience to move around with the actors and take a journey through the story.

Artistic Director, Steph Brocken said: ‘This is the first time that Minerva Youth Theatre have tackled a Shakespeare piece and The Tempest provides not only a great challenge for the young people but also an opportunity to put their characteristic spin on a classic and well-known story’.
Minerva’s members have had a great deal of input into the creation of this piece and this Shakespeare classic will be re-told with a quirky new twist, Minerva-style .

Minerva Arts was founded in 2009 by Steph Brocken and Hayley Wood, and since taking over the Youth Theatre group in 2011 they have become well known for creating unusual and contemporary performance pieces. The Tempest is no different.

This performance forms part of a season of work being shared by Minerva Youth Theatre’s three groups. This season is completed by Malpas Youth Theatre’s brand new piece ‘Whodunnit?’, to be performed on 31st March, 7.30pm at Malpas Young Person’s Centre and ‘Dark Ark Lane’, created by the 7-11 group which will be performed on 26th March, 12pm, at Cheshire Military Museum.

More information about any of these performances can be found here on their website.

The Tempest is being generously supported by the Foyle Foundation and Cllr Richard Beacham’s Member Budget.

The Tempest

University of Chester Kingsway Campus

1st and 2nd April 2016

Tickets: £6 for adults and £4 for concessions.