We Are Chester’s editor Angela Ferguson gives her views on the worrying news from Storyhouse in Chester. Photos: Angela Ferguson
The final curtain must not be allowed to fall at Storyhouse – at least, not if we and fellow residents and visitors to Chester can do anything about it.
News announced today reveals that the theatre and community hub in the heart of our city is fighting for its survival in a climate of great uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The planned summer season of Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre has had to be put back to 2021, with Storyhouse citing a lack of guidance on whether or not such events can be held.
This has left the theatre and community hub in a precarious financial position.
In the time this incredible place has been open, countless people have benefited, whether from wandering around enjoying the masses of books or heading into the main theatre to watch a play. There have been a vast number of community events, including the Storyhouse Women festival and the Storyhouse Men regular events.
Storyhouse has also opened its doors to a whole host of children and young people, whether through performing in The Kitchen or on the main stage or through the various youth theatre workshops and young leaders programmes, which are potentially life-changing to those taking part.
I personally have always felt a strong bond with Storyhouse, feeling truly welcomed whenever I have set foot in there, either to meet up with a friend for a cuppa and a movie or having had the honour of attending the official opening of Storyhouse with the Queen and Meghan Markle. And I have heard so many positive comments about how much people enjoy and have come to rely on Storyhouse as a safe and welcoming place to visit.
Okay, we had a fair few years without a larger scale theatre or entertainments venue, and credit where credit is due, our theatre companies such as Theatre in the Quarter and Tip Top Productions do an incredible job of adding to the heady cultural mix that is theatre and the arts in Chester.
But Storyhouse has acted like a beautiful proud beacon, shining a light on all the wonderful stuff happening in and around our city.
And to think, for even a moment, that this may end if Storyhouse cannot stay afloat, is utterly heartbreaking. We must not let this happen. We’ve got your back, Storyhouse. And we sincerely hope that those with the authority to make decisions to protect you and safeguard your future are listening too.
So please do all you can to spread the word and shout from the rooftops in support of our house – Storyhouse. We need you Storyhouse and we will do all we can to keep that curtain going up and to stop the sun setting on your shining light in the heart of Chester.
To find out more about you can help Storyhouse, including becoming a member or a volunteer, check out the details on the Storyhouse website below.