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10th of October 2019 saw the exciting release of Storehouse’s season 11! Can we really get our heads around them producing theatre in Chester for eleven years? Thank goodness they took the plunge and created our very own community space.

Based in the Garret with a complimentary glass of Pimms, I sat on the edge of my seat, eager to hear what’s coming up from Art Director Alex Clifton. Alex introduced himself and his role in Storyhouse, saying he fortunate to be able to, ‘bring our community together’, to celebrate and promote the work and effort we as individuals donate, in order to come together.

Storyhouse aims to balance the commercial majority with the minority, meaning they want to really work with our community to create art that the majority want whilst also giving the opportunity for the minority to have accessibility (A political joke about a 48% minority was inserted here). Not only accessibility but also opportunity. This includes the storylines of the shows, the actors and even the presentation style.

The shows (Storyhouse Originals) present the opportunity for cultural, creative democracy. Alex wants to ensure everyone in our community has equal opportunities to access all of Storyhouse’s resources. For Season 11, his aim was for minorities to be fairly represented throughout all the productions to enjoy, and later promote the art they have seen.

My view is that Storyhouse is a library, a library in a traditional sense with the texts and computer access but also the contemporary version; as an archive and historical trail of and for the voices of our community. I enjoy the idea that I could pop in to read, socialise, eat, go to the cinema or a show and even go to workshops. It’s a space adapted to suit our need, a space that aspires to be a platform we can speak from.

– The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Fallen Angels support the show – their organisation uses expressive dance to support the recovery of recovering addicts. The story of Dr Jekyll resonates with the creator of Fallen Angels (Paul), an organisation which uses expressive dance to support the recovery of recovering addicts, as the scene where Dr Jekyll wakes with blood on his hands from a previous murder is a similar story to how Paul turned his life around as he woke up with blood on his hands and didn’t know where it had come from. Paul went to ballet school and suffered trauma in his childhood that further manifested itself into an addiction. His dance career ended and he began working in a prison rehabilitating prisoners with dance. The play itself is the traditional story of a doctor who suffers from a split personality disorder. The adaptation is as dark and gothic as the original and uses elements of the organisations work throughout. Read my review here.

– Blue Stockings

Eleven young trainee performers from Storyhouse’s own space are taking charge of this play and hold all the main roles. The show presents the struggles that women had to face in a male dominated society at universities (1896). It’s based in a university where Esther must push past the pain of being unable to graduate and simply take seats in a class, to ensure she could continue to learn. The show really pushes the movement of feminism and the need for equality. The story explores the need for not only women, but men, to be on board with feminism to attain equality.

– Antigone

An urgent Greek political drama. A story about a  trio of siblings and a tyrant uncle who is their king. Two brothers fight to the death. The callous uncle gives his favourite nephew a place in a beautiful and spiritual burial but leaves the other outside the castle walls to be pecked in his death. The third sibling, a young girl of no more than fourteen is then left to explore the relationship with her uncle (the king) verses her own morality with her god as she struggles to defy her King for a proper burial for her brother.

– Miss Julie

Strindberg’s 1970’s classic has been adapted to create this thrilling psychological drama. Storyhouse has relocated this play from North Sweden to Hong Kong to explore British citizens own intonational geopolitical perspective as a British governor presents the conflicting views and opinions of an ‘us versus them’ attitude. Julie is the daughter of the island’s British Governor. She falls for her father’s butler and must fight to survive a male-dominated and wealth driven life to succeed on her own path. Sex and power are promised to be showcased in this new, politically-charged show.

–  Brewster’s Millions

This play is a twist on the original film where a man has thirty days to spend thirty million pounds without buying assets, and if he does so wins three hundred million pounds. Fun, disco music is used to recreate this play Storyhouse style! A single mother in Chester tells off a billionaire customer for leaving her a shoddy tip and he further offers her the same opportunity: spend his thirty million in thirty days and win the three hundred. However, in this case, each of the thirty days has been promised to be presented using different disco tunes and barrels of laughs.

– The Suicide

This play originated in Russia and was quickly banned by a Stalin led culture in the 1930’s for being rather too direct. The play presents a middle-aged man who is unemployed due to the economy – this is severely affecting his mental health.  He vows to commit suicide. Upon hearing this, his landlord becomes excited at the prospect of pawning his tenant’s suicide note (the cause of death) and starts a bidding war. The man then receives continuous guests trying to profit from his death. Politicians and promoters badger the man to commit suicide on their behalf to push for more soldiers, better wages, more jobs etc. and become a martyr for their causes. The misery of the man is then turned into a complete farce. This play is advertised as a dark comedy.

Further info and ticket booking via Storyhouse here.