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We foresee great things happening over the next twelve months. We’ve donned the Amble team Thinking Hat to compile our list of interesting things to do in Chester in the great year of 2018 (so far): 

Theatre

Chester Mystery Plays

The Chester Mystery Plays were written by medieval monks to tell the story of the Old and New Testaments from Creation to the Last Judgement. Banned during the Middle Ages, performances were revived in the last century and are a spectacular piece of community theatre, unique to Chester. The cycle of plays is produced every five years, and the 2018 cycle will be performed in the Cathedral Nave with a score composed by maestro Matt Baker of Chester’s Garden Quarter.

27th June – 14th July, Chester Cathedral. Tickets £20-£27, concessions and family tickets available.

Music

Raven Folk Club

The Raven folk club will celebrate their 40th anniversary in April. The club meets at the Bear and Billet pub in Lower Bridge Street and is a marvellously unstuffy and relaxed group united by a passion for good music and an ability to make visitors very welcome. This major milestone will be marked by a plethora of gigs in venues across the City, where no doubt the odd glass will be raised to toast the next 40 years. See the Raven folk club Facebook page for details.

Festival

The Good Life Experience

If you’d like to try a festival this year go local and save on fuel. The Good Life Experience was founded by Cerys Matthews and Steve Abbott, with Charlie & Caroline Gladstone, to celebrate all things related to culture, food and the great outdoors. The festival is held in the beautiful surroundings of the Gladstone estate, a very short drive or bus ride from Chester. Personal highlight of the 2017 festival included taking part in a choral singing workshop, bathed in sunshine atop the keep of the old Hawarden Castle.

14th-16th September: Hawarden Estate. Under 11s go free, Early Bird Tickets (available at time of writing) from £72 (12-17yrs) and £109 (Adults).

More Theatre (it’s good for you)

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre: The Tempest

The critically acclaimed Open Air Theatre in Grosvenor Park continues to operate in parallel to the Main Stage at Storyhouse. The summer season features shows produced for performance both indoors and in the park. The season has plenty to offer, but our pick has to be The Tempest. Shakespeare’s final play set on a magical island is the perfect show to watch in the glorious riverside setting of Grosvenor Park.

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.” 

Pack the Prosecco and don’t forget a poncho, just in case the weather lives up to the show’s title. Booking not yet available at the time of writing (due Jan 18).

Art

Our Colour Reflection 

Our Colour Reflection is an installation comprising hundreds of mirrors made of coloured acrylic giving a very different perspective to the Cathedral Chapter House. Free entry 0900-1700 1st February – 1st March, Monday to Saturday, Chester Cathedral.

Maelstrom

On your way to the Cathedral swing by the walls and beware the Maelstrom. Maelstrom is an optical illusion created with projected light and animation in the canal beneath the King Charles Tower. Dawn until dusk until 27th October.

Music

English Touring Opera

There’s going to be a big wedding in 2018. No! Not that pageant down south in Windsor, but right here in Chester, in Mozart’s brilliant comic opera – The Marriage of Figaro. Signor Figaro is attempting to arrange his wedding to the lovely Susanna despite the interference of his boss, Count Almaviva, who has his own wicked plans for Susanna and attempts to halt the wedding. It’s pretty rare to see live opera in Chester, and if you’ve never before dipped your toes into operatic waters, Figaro is a great start. The labyrinthine plot packed with cross dressing and mistaken identities is both funny and moving. If you aren’t touched by the Contessa’s heart-rending lament over her husband’s deceit, reach for the nearest defibrillator.

For one night only: 20th March Storyhouse Main stage. Tickets from £19.50

Cinema

International Film Festival

Founded in 1970 during the dark days between the closure of the Odeon and before the opening of Storyhouse, Chester Film Society were the primary organisation keeping the light of the movie projector flickering in the city center. This March the Film Society present an International Film Festival, bringing a selection of films from across the world to Chester, including Hungary Egypt, Palestine Zambia and Israel. Films are presented without adverts and will be preceded by short films as part of as part of the International Animation Festival.

25th February – 7th March. Storyhouse cinema.

Special offer: Enter the promotion code CHESTERFS when booking online or at a kiosk, or quote “Chester Film Society” when booking in person at Storyhouse, for £5 tickets.

Food

Armando’s Venice Carnivale

Enjoy delicious authentic Italian food at Armando’s – the Garden Quarter’s family run Italian delicatessen. An opportunity to sample the selection of fine cheeses, olives and cured meats on offer at this neighbourhood favourite. There will be competitions with prizes including free pasta for two for a month. Also check out the website for some great recipes to put your supplies to good use. Further event details can be found on Facebook.

Armando’s Delicatessen, 48 Garden Lane, CH1 4EN Chester, Cheshire 

Drink

Beer Festivals

The forthcoming glorious Summer will be heralded by two beer festivals. We’ll drink to that:

Chester Charity Beer Festival – a lively event, usually offering live music and food alongside real ale and ciders (Hickory’s BBQ have a pop up). This is the 29th year of a festival which has raised lots of money for local good causes including Claire House and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd. May 18th-20th Chester Rugby Club. Tickets are £5-£10

Chester Craft Beer Festival – a showcase for local breweries with a selection of craft beers and ciders. The festival will also offer live music and DJs. There are two sessions on the 21st April: Afternoon session: 11am – 4pm, Late Session: 4:30pm – 9:30pm. Tickets are £5 – includes a glass. Carriage Shed, City Place, Chester, CH1 3DR

Performance Poetry

There are much better ways to express yourself than late night Twitter rants (Mr President) Here are two new opportunities for peaceful expression:

Testify Poetry Chester. Poetry without pretension – an inclusive poetry open mic session. New for March 2018. Turn up and get it off your chest: your poetry, politics, peeves, passions and pissed off rants! Monthly from 6th March 7:30pm-10.00pm Storytelling room. Storyhouse. Pay what you can afford.

Cinderbox Sessions Open Mic: a poetry and music open mic for people to come down and showcase their works, or listen, whilst enjoying a relaxing cafe environment. Monthly from 31st January, 6pm-8pm.