All Children’s Tickets now FREE in Ground Breaking Move from Chester Performs
Chester Performs, the city’s leading cultural producer, has announced that it has made all its childrens’ tickets free what is thought to be a unique national initiative.
Tickets for the MBNA Chester Music Festival, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and the Chester Literature Festival are now free for all accompanied under 12’s, and are set to be so for the “foreseeable future”.
The surprise move has come in a determined effort to see as many young people as possible attend the company’s professional arts events.
Andrew Bentley of Chester Performs is determined that all of the company’s work is as family friendly as possible “we have been welcoming families to the open air theatre in huge numbers, so this initiative reduces the price of bringing under 12’s. It also helps by not penalising families with only one child and who would not previously have been able to buy a family ticket.
We sell tickets for events at a rate which fairly reflects their value but we would hate to think people may be facing a choice between say expensive babysitting or buying tickets for the kids. More importantly though we really want young people to get into real drama, music and literature as soon as possible. There is certainly a history in classical music of very low levels of attendance by under 12s and we are seeking to reverse that trend. There is something wonderful about that particular experience which is somehow more magical when introduced earlier. We genuinely want families to come and we very much hope this helps”
Along with the three main ticketed festivals, families can also access free under 12’s tickets for the company’s new Moonlight Flicks open air cinema, to be launched in July.
Free tickets are limited to one per accompanying adult and are there is a maximum number available per event. For more information visit www.chesterperforms.com .
GROSVENOR PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE 2013 SEASON ANNOUNCED
CHESTER PERFORMS ANNOUNCES FULL SEASON OF 3 PRODUCTIONS FOR 2013 GROSVENOR PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, OTHELLO AND CYRANO DE BERGERAC
INCREASED 8 WEEK RUN
Chester Performs today announced the 2013 Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre season will return to Chester this summer from July 5th –August 25th.
After the success of last year’s season, which saw 10,500 theatregoers attend the unique picnic theatre, this year’s season not only boasts an increased 8 week run, but will present 3 productions.
Shakespeare will be at the heart of the season with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and unlike previous years where the Bard’s romantic comedies have prevailed, a tragedy will be presented – Othello, adding a new element to the critically acclaimed theatre.
Finally, its third production will be the swashbuckling story of Cyrano de Bergerac, a writer and swordsman, infamous for his extremely large nose.
All three will be performed in rep, and new for 2013, in the style of Shakespeare’s Globe, Othello will be rehearsed on the Grosvenor Park stage, whilst the other 2 plays are being performed to paying audiences.
Alex Clifton will return as the theatre’s Artistic Director, on the recent announcement he said
‘2013 looks to be our most exciting and challenging season to date. We have set a high bar for ourselves with the successes we have had since we began in 2010, and have prepared a programme for this summer which will, I believe, thrill our wonderful audience’.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is perhaps Shakespeare’s most generous and warm comedy and it is often regarded as his funniest.
Cyrano de Bergerac is a dashing romance, celebrating love and the power of language – as well as the power of a sword.
Whilst Othello, an intense thriller, will provide a gripping, passionate and moving evening of theatre.
Alex continues ‘Bringing these three plays, about lovers struggling to find their ways to each other past deception and trickery, to our beautiful park this summer will be a great treat. We have
again extended our run after the success of last year that our audiences brought us, and I very much look forward to meeting that brilliant audience again‘.
Tickets will be on sale in February. For more information, please visit the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre website. www.grosvenorparkopenairtheatre.co.uk
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
July 5th – August 25th 2013
A Midsummer Nights Dream 5th July – 25th August
Cyrano de Bergerac 12th July – 25th August
Othello 2nd August – 23rd August
Box office 0845 241 7868
Or call into Chester Visitor Information Centre
AWARD WINNING RSC DIRECTOR JOINS GROSVENOR PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE TEAM
Chester Performs, the producing company behind Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, has announced that Olivier Award-winning theatre director Lucy Pitman-Wallace will be joining the team as director of Glyn Maxwell’s new adaptation Cyrano de Bergerac.
Lucy is a former Associate Director at the RSC. Her directing credits include Eastward Ho! which was performed as part of the RSC Swan Season, winning the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year. She directed the revival of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe for the RSC at Sadler's Wells, which starred Matthew Rixon, who appeared as Malvolio in last year’s Twelfth Night. Lucy is the artistic director of Three Legged Theatre Company, and freelance director for Uppsala State Theatre in Sweden. Her productions have toured the globe.
Commissioned especially for the new season, Cyrano de Bergerac will be performed in ‘rep’ by a cast of some of the country’s leading actors, alongside Shakespeare’s ultimate outdoor romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and dark tragedy Othello. Cyrano tells the story of the 17th century swordsman with an extremely large nose, and promises to be an action packed, ‘swashbuckling’ comedy.
Lucy will join the theatre’s Artistic Director Alex Clifton, who has been in post since the theatre’s debut in 2010. Clifton, born and raised in Chester, will direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello.
On the recent appointment, Clifton said ‘We are absolutely over the moon Lucy is joining us. Lucy, myself and Glyn brought a group of actors together last week to run through Glyn’s adaptation of Cyrano. It is absolutely hilarious, and sort of tragic, all at the same time. Lucy is the perfect person to captain this particular ship. The move to three productions in Grosvenor Park is yet another milestone to becoming one of the country’s best love theatre companies. Personally, I can’t wait.”
The critically acclaimed season, opens July 5th – August 25th, an extended run on previous years. Tickets are on sale now from £14.50. New for 2013, organisers Chester Performs are offering free tickets for under 12s.
CHESTER PERFORMS LAUNCH NEW VOLUNTEERING PROGRAMME
Chester Performs - producers of Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, MBNA Chester Music Festival and Chester Literature Festival - are seeking volunteers to help with the delivery of their events and festivals.
Andrew Bentley of Chester Performs said: ‘Volunteering with us will offer a raft of opportunities to gain experience in event management, customer care, technical tasks, box office duties and crowd stewarding. We’re hoping to attract a range of people, our programme is so diverse there’s something for everyone.’
Volunteering is known as a way of making friends, feeling part of a community or developing much needed skills that could lead to paid work.
Harry Hickson has volunteered for Chester Performs since 2010 ‘I am proud to be living and studying in Chester, so being involved with any activity that promotes the city is right up my street. Its great to feel part of something.’
Volunteers will attend a full training day and receive a newly designed uniform. There are a range of ways volunteers can support each event and festival. Applications are open now, go to www.chesterperforms.com/volunteers or call the office on 01244 409113.
Chester Performs is a leading arts producer We create, produce and stage innovative arts projects, specialising in presenting work in non-traditional venues and spaces.
Our current programme includes: Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, the only full time professional open air theatre company outside of London, The Chester Music Festival and the Chester Literature Festival.
Chester Performs is a key partner with Cheshire West and Chester Council and is supported by Arts Council England.
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre is now entering its fourth season after three highly successful years. The custom built open air theatre is set in the beautiful Grosvenor Park, at the heart of historic Chester.
It is the only full time professional open air theatre company outside of London and performs in ‘rep’ with a full size cast, featuring some of the country’s finest actors, designers and directors.
Review of Twelfth Night Performed by Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and Produced by Chester Performs
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre is currently performing its third Shakespeare Play in Chester this year. Following on from the previous two years very efficacious seasons featuring Much Ado About Nothing in 2010 and the 2011 portrayal of As You Like It, we are currently being offered to an exquisite performance of Twelfth Night which runs until 19th August.
In the enchanting environment of Grosvenor Park with its copious apparel of foliage providing the perfect backdrop for an outdoor Shakespearean experience with its natural selection of forested props we were allowed to indulge our fantasies as the enactment unfolded before us.
With a significant part of the Open Air Theatre under cover the audience are sheltered from whatever extremes the weather may yield be it rain or be it shine nothing can diminish from the enthralling production directed by the remarkably talented Artistic Director Alex Clifton.
While the audience relish in the informal and relaxed atmosphere solely unique to the Picnic Theatre experience in this very tranquil of settings under the captivating evening Lights of the Park and the close propinquity to the stage all that remains to say is “If Music be the food of love play on”
Full recognition should be given to Chester Performs in assembling yet again such a magnificent Troupe of Actors with a very opulent pedigree of Theatre Credits as indeed they have provided on the two previous occasions in 2010 and 2011. This years’ Cast are made up of varying areas of expertise and ethnic backgrounds which both blend together also produce a rich cultural diversity which greatly enhances the performance.
Olivia played by Lorna Beckett expressed radiantly the authority her part demanded and equally conveyed irresistibly the anguish and hedonism of her emotions by the rejection of and later ecstasy in obtaining love through the sexual ambiguity and cross-dressing of Krupa Pattani as Viola and the arrival of Sebastian played by Haseeb Malik.
Great acclaim should be afforded to Feste and Sir Toby Belch played by Chris Vincent and Jack Lord respectfully ably supported by Scott Arthur as Sir Andrew Aquecheek who all contributed significantly to the humour of the play with their various escapades and drunken behaviour. These Characters truly excelled in their roles and added considerably to the appeal and enhancement of the performance.
However the outstanding artist of this production of Twelfth Night has to be Malvolio portrayed by Matthew Rixon. Playing the delusional arrogant egotistical buffoon Matthew excelled in his role showing all the panache, flamboyance and indeed humiliation the role commanded. This was a performance that his father Matthew Kelly would have been proud of and although there is both a physical and verbal resemblance this was very much a unique unblemished presentation that captivated the whole audience.
The Costumes employed showed prodigious imagination moving away from the traditional Elizabethan theme to later eras and displaying inventiveness and nuance on the original concept. Particular reference should be made to the noteworthy quality of the Music engaged and the vocal depictions of Chris Vincent playing Feste who was truly exceptional.
This magnificent unparalleled experience that only Picnic Theatre can replicate courtesy of Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and the Production by Chester Performs should be enjoyed by all.
Andrew D Thompson
Review of Masters are you Mad Performed by Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and Produced by Chester Performs
Glyn Maxwell returns to Chester with his new Play Masters are you Mad following his resounding success with last years’ Merlin and the Woods of Time. Directed by Robin Norton-Hale we are presented with the opportunity to witness the continuation of Twelfth Night through this new production.
Following this prolongation set some twelve years later and revolving around Malvolio’s promise that he’d “Be reveng’d on the whole pack of you” resulting from his treatment at the hands of Maria plus Sir Toby Belch and company.
The Play contains five of the original characters from the Shakespearean Comedy who with the passage of time have found themselves in circumstances of desolation. Is this the natural evolution resulting from the hastily constructed and indeed in some instances incompatible marriages performed in Twelfth Night or are their darker forces at work?
Here we find tortured souls restless emotions searching for the tranquillity and equanimity they desire so deeply in their lives. Characters questioning their sexuality, marital status even their very being search for Malvolio maybe if they atone for their past transgressions through reconciliation will they find peace?
Does love conquer all does time heal pain or are they simply illusions out of our grasp and beyond our comprehension. Equally are we Masters of our own destiny these are the examinations that the virtuosity of Glyn Maxwell leave us to explore.
Superb portrayals by Victoria Gee as Mary and the reappearance of Matthew Rixon as Malvolio excel in this production adding both merriment and despair to the complexities of their corresponding situations. They were ably abetted in this performance by Haseeb Malik as the amusing, blundering assassin and the humorous Chris Lindon as Otto the ferryman.
We are very fortunate to witness yet again another remarkable creation from the extremely talented poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell those works add considerably to the Grosvenor Open Air Theatre atmosphere.
Andrew D Thompson
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre 2011 - As You Like It - Reviewed by Chesteronthewebcom
As You Like It By William Shakespeare
Performed by Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and Produced by Chester Performs.
This is now the second year that Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre has performed Shakespeare Plays here in Chester.
Following on from 2010’s very successful debut season featuring Much Ado About Nothing it was a pleasure to attend this year’s enactment of As You Like It which continues until 21st August.
Arranged in the outstanding splendour and tranquillity of Grosvenor Park there can be no better setting to appreciate the qualities of an outdoor Shakespearian encounter. Not so much All the World’s a Stage but more the epitome of Picnic Theatre at its very best.
Directed by Nikolai Foster and executed by a cast of Actors with an outstanding pedigree of Theatre Credits this was truly an exceptional presentation and a very congenial evening under the superlative Lights of the Park.
The close proximity to the stage provided the basis for the intimate depiction of the Comedy which enhanced the unfolding of the profuse plots and sub plots. The revealing elements of power, lust, the misperceptions of love and their resulting anguish and enchantment were radiantly portrayed by the accomplished Cast. The Actors interacted audaciously with the audience adding considerably to the experience of Open Air Theatre, providing there is no objection to sharing drinks with your thespian acquaintances.
The Intrigue of “As You Like It” was captured flawlessly by Natalie Grady playing Rosalind. The notable interpretation and cross-dressing disguise in the forest was very humorous but also captivated the romantic desire of the moment whilst not leading to sexual deviation.
Orlando played by David Ricardo-Pearce expressed wonderfully the exuberance and dynamism the part demanded and articulated emotively the yearning and anguish of his love for Rosalind
Particular reference should be expressed to the quality of the Choreography, Music and Costumes employed throughout the Performance, which epitomised the outstanding professionalism and significantly contributed to bringing the portrayal of the Characters to life.
Full credit should be given to Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and the Production by Chester Performs which is one more illustration of the enormous benefits we derive from their copious presentations.
Whether you reside in the Chester area or are visiting this enthralling Roman City you should experience the atmosphere of the Open Air Theatre at least once in your lifetime.
Andrew D Thompson