Size isn’t everything, especially when it comes to theatres. With the big boys (Storyhouse) rolling in to town, let’s not forget the little things, specifically Chester Little Theatre. Small in stature it still packs a punch…
Storyhouse seems to have awakened a culture quest in me. In their opening week I grew close to bankruptcy, frantically booking everything in sight. Then I sat back, cradling my fractured credit card and waited for the show to begin.
There aren’t many things I miss about London, but I definitely loved the volume of comedy, music and theatre on offer, affordable offer; that free Tony Bennett gig at the Roundhouse, my favourite comedians practicing their new material in tiny rooms for a fiver. *Nostalgic sigh*
Don’t get me wrong, Storyhouse need to make money, and from what I’ve seen so far, ticket prices are justified. It’s just that if you’re someone like me that wants to indulge in a heady quantity of the arty stuff, you might find yourself searching between the sofa cushions for much needed pennies.
Imagine my delight then, at discovering Chester Little Theatre on my doorstep, with full priced tickets at £9.50. Sure, there are some compromises, like getting up close and personal with anyone sitting next to you due to the small seats, a lack of air con (don’t make my mistake, wear layers), and no drinks allowed during the show, but one area you don’t have to compromise on is the quality of the acting.
In July, myself and a packed out room were treated to a performance of Harold Pinter’s, ‘The Homecoming’, directed my Marian Newman. Despite my inability to get on with the play itself (I found the second Act surreal and confusing), this was no reflection on the clearly talented actors and production team. And it certainly hasn’t put me off trying my luck with the next show – Look Back In Anger – Directed by John Osbourne, 16th-23rd September.
During the performance I just kept thinking, okay, maybe Harold Pinter just isn’t for me, but the cast is doing a bloody good job of it, and this only cost me £9.50. For a night of entertainment, and exposure to something new, £9.50 is an incredible steal. And with six performances a year, there’s bound to be something that appeals (You can even bag a season ticket to all the shows for £54 – £9 per show).
Better yet, you can get involved. Keep an eye on their website for audition announcements if you fancy yourself under the bight lights.
They also have a Youth Theatre group (ages 12-19) which often put on showcase performances for the public.
The theatre is entirely staffed by volunteers, so whether you’re looking to support this community gem or get involved, it’s worth paying them a visit. That is, if you can find them. Though to be honest my appalling sense of direction might be more at fault here than their location. Good luck!