The Somme 100 – Saturday 9th July 2016 – Queen’s Park High School – #chesterculture

In commemoration of the Battle of the Somme which took place 100 years ago the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with the Queen’s Park High School are taking part in the Somme 100 project.

img_0949The film ‘Battle of the Somme’ made in 1916 by Geoffrey Mallins and J.B. McDowell, has been re-mastered by the Imperial War Museum and an orchestral score has been written by Laura Rossi to accompany it.

The Somme 100 project aims to show the film internationally with Laura’s music at 100 different venues.

There will be two opportunities to view this moving historic film in Chester at 2.00pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 9th July 2016.

The Somme 100 Commemorative Concert
Saturday July 9th 2016
The Main Hall in Queen’s Park High School
Tickets priced at £12 and £10 for adults
Student tickets are £5
Tickets are available from Queen’s Park High School – Student Services on 01244 981506 or on the door.

Fiesta Fever comes to Chester courtesy of CH1BiD – #chesterculture

Fiesta fever is taking over Chester, as CH1ChesterBID and a range of city centre partners gear up to launch a packed programme of campaigns and events for summer in the city. 

‘Chester Fiesta’, CH1ChesterBID’s campaign for summer 2016, includes a three-month programme of activities in the city centre throughout June, July and August. The city’s streets will be full of music, movies, outdoor theatre, parades and sporting events this summer and will include a city centre-wide cocktail competition and a dinosaur-inspired family trail and fact-finding mission.

“Chester Fiesta brings all of the city’s spectacular summer activities together under one banner” added Julie Charlton, Marketing Manager at CH1ChesterBID. “It’s going to be a fantastic summer in the city this year!”

Starting in July and running through to September as part of Chester Fiesta, CH1ChesterBID will launch ‘Head Out, Not Home’, a campaign aimed at bridging the gap between the city’s daytime and evening economies. 

Every Thursday between 5pm and 8pm, CH1ChesterBID has organised a range of music and street entertainment as well as a series of fantastic shopping, drinking and dining offers, to encourage more people to enjoy the city’s summer evening delights. 

More than 40 stores in the city – including Primark, Next, Marks and Spencer, Boots, Debenhams as well as many inside the city’s Grosvenor Shopping Centre – are backing the campaign and will stay open for business from 5pm to 8pm every Thursday evening.

“We’re delighted with the support ‘Head Out, Not Home’ has received from many of our city centre retailers, but the campaign isn’t just about late night shopping”, said Carl Critchlow, CH1ChesterBID Manager. “We’re planning some fantastic evenings of entertainment including live music, comedy, culture, cinema, theatre and sport in the city.”

The campaign is aimed at encouraging more city residents, workers and visitors to stay longer, enjoy more and spend more time around Chester’s city centre shops, bars, restaurants and attractions. Parking is also free after 3pm in the city.

“We’re proud to be a city that’s rich in tradition, but we also need to react and respond to shifting demands of modern consumers and to the competitive challenges we face as a destination of choice. So, we hope people – whether living, working or visiting here – head out to Chester, not home, every Thursday in July and August, and enjoy everything our wonderful city has to offer.” Carl added.

Everything locals and visitors need to know about Chester Fiesta and Head Out, Not Home will be available on CH1ChesterBID’s new digital consumer hub, which launched yesterday – Thursday 16th June –

As well as receiving all the latest news and offers from the city centre, anyone who signs up to the newsletter before the end of June will automatically be entered into a prize draw for afternoon tea for two at the Chester Grosvenor. Full terms and conditions are available on the website.

The Good Life Experience – 16th, 17th and 18th September 2016 – #chesterculture

tgle-2015-photos-nenad-obradovic-IMG_2085The Good Life Experience presents an impressive and eclectic line-up for the three day festival –now in its third year- from 16th to 18th September 2016 on the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire.

The music and poetry programme is entirely hand-picked by co-founders singer, author and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and music manager Steve Abbot.

Festival goers can look forward to a mix of the very best music with everything from DJ Gilles Peterson, Canadians Gordie Mackeeman + His Rhythm Boys to Saturday night headliners Romanian Gypsy band Fanfare Ciocarlia – which Cerys has described as her favourite live performance of all time – poets John Cooper Clarke + Mike Garry (with his band), The Booka Brass Band from Dublin, Mari Samuelsen + The 12 Ensemble’s performance of Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed, a DJ set from Mercury Rev, Cerys herself performing and much more.

On top of the music, there are some wonderful speakers lined up, including adventurer Ben Fogle, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and multi-award winning author Michael Morpurgo.

There will be an exciting array of world class chefs, all of whom have been challenged to cook over the campfire, from Bill Granger, to Thomasina Miers, Valentine Warner, Welsh barbecuers Hang Fire Smokehouse, Fabulous Baker Tom Herbert, Petersham Nurseries’ Head Chef Damian Clisby, Anna Jones, forager Roger Phillips and many more.

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As founders of homewares brand Pedlars, the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop and award-winning pub The Glynne Arms, co-founders Charlie and Caroline Gladstone know something about hosting a brilliant party. Together with, Cerys and Steve they have created an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion for all ages.

Join the party this year for a weekend celebrating family, friends, dogs, music, talks, adventure, workshops, good food and good drink and The Great Outdoors.

There will be around 40 workshops with traditional craftspeople for all ages, from spoon carving to paddle making, henna art, blacksmithing, axe workshops and more. Almost all these workshops and other activities are free, including axe throwing, archery, tree climbing, tai chi and abseiling to name just a few.

And last but not least there is a wonderful 1930s Vintage Fairground, where all rides are free, running all weekend.

The Good Life Experience
16th, 17th and 18th September 2016
Hawarden Estate
To buy tickets click here
Adults: £69 Non-camping, £99 Camping
12-17 years: £34.50 Non-camping. £64.50 Camping
Under 11s: Free
More information at

#chesterculture – A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That – Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July 2016

Ever wondered about the true scope of what they do at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden?

Join them for ‘A little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That’, a weekend long event held from Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July 2016.

During this weekend you’ll experience a typical slice of discussion at Gladstone’s Library.

A wonderful compendium of thoughts starting with bestselling novelist Salley Vickers whose works include the international word-of-mouth bestseller Miss Garnet’s Angel which became a favourite among book clubs and reading groups.

Salley will introduce and read from her eagerly-anticipated new novel,Cousins, which follows three generations of the Tye family as they are forced to come to terms with the true nature of inheritance – both genetic and behavioural.

John McEllhenney and Susan Fogarty explore the doubting-belief of the great Welsh poet R.S. Thomas, an Anglican vicar who wrestled ceaselessly with problems of faith and doubt in his poetry.

It is not too much of a leap from R.S. Thomas to Peter Francis’ talk about Honest Faith – claiming that no supernatural beliefs are true and presenting Christianity as a rational philosophy of life.

william_ewart_gladstone_-_project_gutenberg_etext_13103There is a significant Victorian slant to the weekend as well with Chair of Gladstone’s Library Michael Wheeler presenting Florence Nightingale as a great reformer, the founder of modern nursing and a noted liberal Christian.

Louisa Yates talks reading, journeying through Gladstone’s Literary Life by imagining his typical week. She addresses how such a busy man could possibly have read the 22,000 books he noted in his diaries.

The weekend concludes with a discussion about ‘liberal values’ in which Michael Wheeler and Peter Francis ask whether the word ‘liberal’ still has any meaning in the contemporary world.

Residential prices start from £202, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.

For further information visit , call 01244 532350 or email

#chesterculture – Another Fine Mess – Chester Little Theatre – Saturday 11th June 2016

Fans of the legendary masters of comedy Laurel and Hardy are in for a treat as a play about the famous duo heads to Chester Little Theatre for one night only.
Written by Gillian Plowman and produced by White Cobra Productions who return to Chester following their staging of John Godber’s “September in The Rain at the theatre last year.

“Another Fine Mess” is a heart warming comedy about the ups and downs of Stephen and Phil whose tribute act to Laurel and Hardy includes some of the duo’s classic sketches.

As the pair rehearse in the back room of a pub, real life intervenes.  A shocking revelation from Phil strains their relationship, possibly to destruction.

The play is being staged at Chester Little Theatre in Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester on Saturday 11th June at 7.45pm.

The two actors with the daunting task of recreating the famous duo on stage for a modern audience are Richard Jordan as Laurel/Stephen and Paul Fowler as Hardy/Phil. Richard has twice won the best actor award at the Isle of Man drama festival in the last three years whilst Paul is making his first appearance for White Cobra, having directed their production of Days of Wine Roses which took the best play award in the British final in 2014.

Richard says “to play Stan Laurel, half of the most famous double act in the history of cinema is a huge thrill, and a huge responsibility.

The three-strong cast is completed by Kate Billingham who plays Meg, Stephen’s girlfriend. She is the organisational brains behind the tribute act and plays bit parts in the comedy sketches, such as a moll and Stan’s wife.

The play is Directed by Martin Borley-Cox who said “Laurel & Hardy’s comedy shines through in the play, by recreating some of Stan & Ollie’s classic sketches, you realise how clever they were. They were incredibly funny. Even today, nearly 100 years after their first film together, they’re guaranteed to make you smile.”

“But, this play has some big surprises too. Because of Phil’s revelations, emotions run high and laughter quickly turns to tears. But at the end of the day, I think this is an incredibly uplifting play. Laurel & Hardy had a partnership, and a friendship, that lasted a lifetime and quite rightly our play is all about friendship.”

Another Fine Mess is part of a double bill of plays.

The accompanying play is Housebound by Simon Mawdsley.

Director Paul Fowler says it involves “a man in a mask and a woman in real trouble. Add some phobias, a wasp and a dash of reggae and you’re left with a big-hearted comic drama full of menace, laughter and dirty carpets!” 

White Cobra is one of the country’s most successful small theatre companies. In the last three years they’ve won 15 awards for acting, directing, set design, costume and make-up. In 2014, White Cobra claimed four awards at the British All Winners’ Drama Festival. They’re also through to the finals of this year’s competition which is held in July.

Another Fine Mess
Chester Little Theatre
Saturday 11th June 2016 – 7.45pm
Tickets: £10/£9(concs). To book phone TicketSource 0333 666 3366 or click here. Booking charges apply.

#chesterculture – Gladfest – Gladstone’s Library – Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September 2016.

The UK’s friendliest literary festival returns Gladfest returns with another programme of the best and brightest writing talents, from old friends returning with their latest books to new-to-Gladfest stars.

The three day literary celebration, held at the UK’s only Prime Ministerial Library in Hawarden, will be welcoming high profile and internationally renowned writers, novelists, poets and academics for its annual festival Gladfest from Friday 2nd September to Sunday 4th September 2016.  Now into its fourth year, Gladfest is back and it’s better than ever.

loyd-grossman_239116kHighlights include Val McDermid (Splinter the Silence) discussing what compels us to consume crime fiction; Scarlett Thomas (The Seed Collectors) who explores her complex relationship with realism and fantasy; Loyd Grossman (Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern) on the Georgian craze for history as expressed in books, prints and paintings; Guy Cuthbertson’s perspective on Wilfred Owen and the WWI poets and Richard Holloway (A Little History of Religion) who muses on religious experiences and expressions.


Michel Faber and Sarah Perry will make a welcome return with their latest books, Undying and The Essex Serpent after sell-out slots at last year’s festival.

Further highlights include Sir Anthony Seldon (Cameron at 10: The Inside Story) on contemporary politics and education; Rachel Holmes who delves into the radical lives of Eleanor Marx and Sylvia Pankhurst; Andrew Tate exploring the ruined futures of dystopian fiction; Ian Parks who considers the poetry of C.P. Cavafy and Peter Blair charting the meteoric rise of contemporary flash fiction.


If you’re a little more hands-on, there will be workshops throughout the weekend sharpening manuscripts with Francesca Haig (The Fire Sermon), prioritising workload with Michael Nobbs (Drawing Your Life), using the imagination as a literary device with Peter Moore (The Weather Experiment) and creating comics with Simon Grennan (Dispossession).

fantastic20mr20fox201_1For younger Gladfesters, there’s an expanded programme of Young People’s Events and a series of interactive activities inspired by the books of Roald Dahl who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Young people can explore the poetry of Revolting Rhymes, the characters of Fantastic Mr Fox, the language of The BFG and create prints to take home inspired by Dahl’s marvellous animals and creature creations.

Plus there’s the all-new Gladfest market place filled with the best local designers and contemporary crafts, the Gladbooks bookstall stocking reads from festival speakers (plus the opportunity to get them signed), the Food for Thought servery open throughout the day for delicious homemade hot and cold food, and the Gladbar ready and waiting to serve up festival tipples.

As one of the UK’s only festivals with no green room and no backstage area, you never know who you’ll bump into. Mingle with like-minded festival-goers, share a fireside drink with the authors and really make the most of Gladfest 2016.

For the full lineup click here,
Click here to view the official Gladfest 2016 programme

Friday 2nd September to Sunday 4th September 2016. gladfest20201620speakers
Weekend Tickets: £55
Day Tickets: £30 and Workshop Day Tickets: £40.
Individual event tickets are priced from £7.
For more information call Gladstone’s Reception on 01244 532350 or email

General release opens at 9am on Wednesday 18th May.

Friends priority booking opens at 9am on Wednesday 4th May.
Friends may book tickets for themselves and up to two guests.

Sign up as a Friend for pre-release tickets, exclusive Gladfest accommodation and a host of other benefits.


#chesterculture – Ireland: A Summer Night of Poetry and Music – 23rd June 2016.

Two of Chester’s most active poets Maureen Weldon and David Subacchi are presenting an evening of poetry and music with a strong Irish theme at Chester’s Northgate Studio and Gallery on Thursday 23rd June at 8pm.
As well as their own poetry inspired by Ireland there will be some Irish music and singing and support from a selection of other members of Chester Poets and musicians.
An evening not to be missed.

Admission is £3 on the door with any proceeds after expenses going to Charitable causes.

Ireland: A Summer Night of Poetry and Music
Northgate Studio and Gallery
Thursday 23rd June

#chesterculture – Storyhouse presents Chester Music Festival – 8th to 18th June 2016

Chester Music Festival featuring Ensemble Deva presents music spanning four centuries in a range of chamber concerts presented in the city.

img_0501The 11 day line-up includes: an evening of minimalist Steve Reich’s music, the ‘Gran Caffe Venezia’ Concert – an annual festival favourite – and a chamber rendition of one of Gustav Mahler’s great orchestral pieces; Mahler’s famous ‘song – symphony’ Das Lied von der Erde, with mezzo Jane Irwin and tenor Joshua Ellicott.

Ensemble Deva is the in-house chamber ensemble for producers Storyhouse. The ensemble will be led in turn by violinists Giovanni Guzzo and Thomas Gould, both of whom return to the festival after popular appearances in previous years.

img_0503Gould was the 2016 judge of the BBC Young Musician of the Year strings final, alongside Julian Lloyd Webber, and he leads Ensemble Deva in two concerts: firstly a rare chance to hear two of Schubert’s late great quartets (15th June, Chester Town Hall) and then a Baroque treat as Ensemble Deva are joined by soprano Mary Bevan as she sings a programme of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi (17th June, St Thomas’ Church)

Other highlights include lunchtime concerts from internationally renowned pianist Martin Roscoe and young exciting cello and percussion duo Abel Selaocoe and Delia Stevens, as well as a chance to hear Camille Saint-Saëns’ most famous work The Carnival of the Animals.

Orchestral tastes are catered for by two appearances from Manchester Camerata as they perform Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony (8th June) and Haydn Symphonies 69 and 75 alongside Mozart’s Piano Concerto 25 (10th June). With a chance to hear Hannah Roberts play Rachmaninov’s Cello Concerto (12th June) and an evening of Baroque sonatas for violin, cello and oboe (16th June), the festival once again promises to deliver music of the highest quality.

Clark Rundel, musical director said: Another year, another array of wonderful concerts, brought to life by a host of musicians we love working with. Whether it be Mozart, Steve Reich, Schubert, Mahler, Saint-Saens, Bach or Handel, the music is always pushed to the fore; every year, in Chester with Ensemble Deva, you can be sure that there are absolutely no barriers between musicians and the audience. What you get is music in its purest form.

Storyhouse presents Chester Music Festival

Wednesday 8th June 2016
Delia Stevens & Abel Selaocoe: Lunchtime Recital – Chester Town Hall, 1pm – £10
Manchester Camerata: Prokofiev, Classical Symphony -St Thomas’ Church, 8pm – £19.50

Thursday 9th June 2016
Ensemble Deva: Gran Caffè Jazz! – Chester Town Hall, 8pm – £15.50 to £27.50

Friday 10th June 2016
Manchester Camerata: Rococo Classics -St Thomas’ Church,  8pm – £19.50

Saturday 11th June 2016
Ensemble Deva: Caffè Venezia Concert – Chester Town Hall, 8pm – £23

Sunday 12th June 2016
Ensemble Deva: Schubert & Rachmaninov – Chester Town Hall, 8pm – £23

Monday 13th June 2016
 Martin Roscoe: Lunchtime Recital – Chester Town Hall, 1pm – £10
Ensemble Deva: Steve Reich, WTC 9/11 – Chester Town Hall, 8pm – £15.50 to £27.50

Tuesday 14th June 2016
Ensemble Deva: Carnival of the Animals – Chester Town Hall, 8pm – £19.50

Wednesday 15th June 2016
Kathryn Williams: Lunchtime Recital – Chester Town Hall, 1pm -£10
Ensemble Deva play Schubert Quartets – Chester Town Hall, 8pm – £19.50

Thursday 16th June 2016
Ensemble Deva: Baroque Classic Sonatas – 8pm, Chester Town Hall – £19.50

Friday 17th June 2016
Ensemble Deva & Mary Bevan: Vivaldi & Bach – St Thomas’ Church, 8pm – £15.50 to £27.50

Saturday 18th June 2016
Ensemble Deva Finale: Das Lied von der Erde – St Thomas’ Church, 8pm – £19.50

Book here or visit Chester Visitor Information Centre.
Download the brochure here.