Know your theatre:
Storyhouse is a theatre, cinema, central library and renowned restaurant. The theatre is in a new extension, behind the screen of the original Odeon, and is enviably flexible – from an 800-seat proscenium for touring shows and concerts, to a 500-seat thrust stage for in-house productions. There’s also a 150-seat studio and a linked bar. A 100-seat independent cinema is suspended in a box above the kitchens, restaurant and bar. Add the major library, meeting rooms, story-telling spaces, informal performance areas and a big screen that can be lowered from the original proscenium arch and it is unique, amazing and multi award-winning.
Storyhouse was built in 1936 as an imposing, brick-built Art Deco Odeon cinema. Despite a couple of conversions to multiplex screens, the main internal fabric and proscenium arch remained intact.
The building was listed Grade II in 1989, but closed in 2007 and remained unused until Storyhouse was completed in 2017. As well as having no cinema, Chester was also without a professional theatre follow-ing the demise of the Gateway in 2007. In 2012 the decision was made to revitalise the building. The structure couldn’t accommodate a theatre, so an office block was bought to make way for what would be an integrated cultural hub. Storyhouse thus became one of the UK’s largest regional arts projects and, at £37m, the biggest capital development in Chester for 50 years, officially opened by the Queen in June 2018.
Around 150 community groups use Story-house and it had more than a million customers in its first year. Storyhouse also runs the popular Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre each summer.
CAUTION: until theatre resumes fully following the Covid restrictions, check with the theatre and book tickets and meals ahead before travelling
Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2HH
All calls: 01244 409 113 (booking, option #1; £2.50 phone booking fee).
As we suggest above, Storyhouse is far more than a theatre and comes equipped with all the supposed essentials of modern cultural life, from The Kitchen restaurant (which also serves as a daytime cafe and snack bar) and Garret rooftop bar, to full disabled access and parking (check here) .
Many of the areas surrounding Storyhouse are pedestrianised, or have narrow streets with difficult access. The nearest car parks are: Market car park, (CH12BB), and Delamere Street car park (CH22AY)
Online box office:
Go here and follow the booking route to your show choice
Picture: cPeter Cook