Theatres local to Chester~ Paul Crofts latest updates

Saturday 8th June at 3.00pm


Final rehearsals are underway as one of Chester’s top choirs prepares to stage a special concert which will spotlight the music of the 1950s.

Staged by Chester Bach Singers and entitled “Sounds of the Fifties” the concert is set to take place on Saturday 8th June at 3.00pm at the Wesley Church Centre in St John Street, Chester.

The last in Chester Bach Singers series of concerts tracing the history of choral music through the 20th Century, the special afternoon of music will feature a trio of songs from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s classic 1950s Musical “West Side Story” including “There’s a place for us”, “I like to be in America and “I feel pretty”. The concert will also include music written to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953, Vaughan Williams’ “Silence and Music” from “A Garland for The Queen” and John Ireland’s love letter to the English landscape “The Hills”.

Music from across the pond will also be celebrated with a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs” whilst the choir will also take the audience on a whistlestop visit to Ireland with Michael Tippett’s lively arrangement of “Lillibulero”.

In addition to music composed in the 1950s, the concert will also feature work by composers born in that decade who are still composing and making music today including Master of the King’s Music, Dame Judith Weir and Chester Bach Singers Musical Director, Martin Bussey. Pieces set to be performed include Dame Judith Weir’s “The Song Sung True” which concludes with an upbeat setting of Edward Lear’s “The Old Man of the Isles” and Martin Bussey’ set of three songs, “Roses”, composed for Chester Bach Singers in 2009 which sets to music poems about roses by “old” Elizabethans – Edmund Waller, Shakespeare and possibly the most famous composer of all – “Anon”!

Helen Crich, the Chair of Chester Bach Singers said “We are delighted to be presenting this celebration of the music of the 1950s with hopefully includes something for everyone, from the music of a classic Hollywood film, to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth and music by the Master of the King’s Music and our very own Musical Director Martin Bussey. We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone to The Wesley Centre in Chester for what promises to be  a very special afternoon of music.”

Full details of “Sounds of The Fifties” can be found at where tickets can be booked online.

Paul Crofts


12/06/24 – 15/06/24



Tip Top Productions are returning to Theatr Clwyd and will stage this fantastic musical in The Mix for five performances.

Hapless but unflappable Charity Hope Valentine desperately seeks love in New York City in the 1960s. In this exuberant, groovy, hilarious musical comedy, Charity tries again and again to find her dream and make something of herself.

Inspired by Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria, Sweet Charity explores the turbulent love life of Charity Hope Valentine, a hopelessly romantic but comically unfortunate dance hall hostess in New York City. With a tuneful, groovy, mid-1960s score by Cy Coleman, sparkling lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and a hilarious book by Neil Simon, Sweet Charity captures all the energy, humor, and heartbreak of Life in the Big City for an unfortunate but irrepressible optimist.

the cast for Tip Top’s forthcoming production of Sweet Charity.

Musical numbers include: “Big Spender,” “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “I’m a Brass Band” and “Baby, Dream Your Dream.”



Saturday 29th June at 7.30pm



Final rehearsals are underway as one of the Northwest’s premier orchestras prepares to stage the final concert of its 2023/24 season which will feature a performance of one of the most famous waltz tunes ever written.

Set to be staged by Chester Philharmonic Orchestra in the historic surroundings of Chester Cathedral, the concert entitled “A postcard from The Danube” takes place on  Saturday 29th June at 7.30pm and will feature native Viennese, Czech and Hungarian music by composers Johann Strauss II, Bela Bartok and Antonin Dvorak, including the famous “Blue Danube” by Strauss which will take the audience on a journey along the River Danube. The orchestra will be conducted by Stephen Threlfall and they will be joined by special guest soloist, Viola virtuoso Duncan Anderson.

Founded in 1884, Chester Philharmonic Orchestra is regarded as one of the premier orchestras in the North West and aims to perform music from a wide repertoire that will appeal to playing members and audiences alike.  The orchestra is proud to work closely with The Royal Northern College of Music in providing a platform for its students. In recent years, the orchestra has hosted an impressive range of internationally acclaimed soloists including Craig Ogden, Guy Johnston and Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Chester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Composed in 1886, “The Blue Danube” is the common English title of “An der schönen blauen Donau”, (German for “By the Beautiful Blue Danube”) and was originally performed on 15 February 1867 at a concert of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men’s Choral Association). It has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. The work originally had words added by the Choral Association’s poet Joseph Weyl but a further, purely orchestral version with additional music added by Strauss became the version most widely known and performed today.

In addition to “The Blue Danube”, the concert will include the Overture to one of the most celebrated operettas of all time, “Die Fledermaus” (The Bat) also by Johann Strauss II,  and one of Dvorak’s most popular works, “Symphony No.8 in G major,” Op. 88. composed in 1889. The evening will also include a performance of Bartok’s Viola Concerto, written in 1945 and regarded as one of the most important works in the viola repertoire.  The Viola concerto will feature guest soloist Duncan Anderson.

Special guest Soloist Duncan Anderson

Born in Chester and raised in Runcorn, Duncan Anderson is Co-Principal viola in the English National Opera Orchestra in London. Since joining in 2020, he has enjoyed giving over 200 performances of opera, ballet, and music theatre with them, with wide-ranging repertoire including works by Mozart, Verdi, Britten, Wagner, Puccini, and Philip Glass. He is looking forward to returning for the 2024-25 season commencing in September. Duncan attended Chetham’s School of Music where he studied violin, piano, and viola. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music whilst also reading physics at Imperial College London and took a Masters’ degree at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. As a soloist, Duncan has previously appeared with the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Vaughan Williams Flos Campi and Walton’s Viola Concerto. He now lives with his wife and son in Reading, where he also teaches at home.

Formally Director of Music at Chetham’s School of Music, Stephen Threlfall is a highly acclaimed conductor with many years’ experience directing orchestras and ensembles. A passionate and dedicated musician committed to bring out the best from his players enabling them to deliver unforgettable musical experiences, Stephen is well known for his ability to communicate with musicians and audiences alike and has received praise for his approach from Nina Bernstein, daughter of celebrated conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein who said of Stephen “Stephen Threlfall reminded me so much of my father as he moulded their performances, always leading with love, never fear.”

Diana Anderson the Chair of Chester Philharmonic Orchestra said “We are delighted to be staging our 2023/24 concert season finale in the glorious surroundings of Chester Cathedral as we take our audience on a trip along the river Danube which has become so famously associated with the music of Strauss. We are looking forward to welcoming back soloist Duncan Anderson to perform Bartok’s Viola Concerto and also, to performing Dvorak’s Symphony No.8 and the overture to the famous Strauss Operetta “Die Fledermaus”.  This concert promises to be a highlight of the Chester concert season and one not to be missed.”

Full details of “A Postcard from The Danube” can be found at where tickets can be booked online. Tickets can also be booked in-person via the Chester Cathedral Box Office.

Paul Crofts


Sunday 30th June at 5.00pm


Final preparations are underway as an acclaimed Chester choir gets ready to join forces with Manchester based musicians for a concert which will feature a four-handed piano accompaniment performance of one of Brahms’ most famous and enduring masterpieces.

The Concert, which takes place at the Wesley Church Centre in St John Street, Chester on Sunday 30th June at 5.00pm, will see Chester Festival Chorus joined by renowned local pianist Graham Eccles and Manchester based pianist Ben Attfield for a performance of Johannes Brahms’ “Ein Deutshes Requiem”. (A German Requiem) which has been a much-loved fixture in the choral repertoire ever since its first performance in Leipzig in 1869

Brahms’ Requiem is normally heard in the version for full orchestra, however, for this concert, the choir will be performing the version that Brahms created for piano duet that brings out the more intimate, chamber-like features of the work without sacrificing the majestic choral fugues that punctuate the work, making it perfectly suited for performance at the Wesley Church Centre.

The choir will also be performing “A Glimpse of the Light” by contemporary composer Rory Wainwright Johnston, first written to accompany a performance of the Mozart Requiem in 2019 that takes its inspiration from the Robert Frost’s poem ‘A Passing Glimpse’ to form, in the composer’s words, ‘a musical glimpse of the things beyond our comprehension’. As a composer, conductor and workshop leader, Rory has worked across the UK and in Germany. His music has been performed by many vocal ensembles, including Manchester’s avant-garde chamber choir.

The concert, which will also showcase the talents of Soprano Elspeth Piggott and Baritone William Kyle, will be musically directed by acclaimed conductor Ellie Slorach.

Based in Manchester, Ellie is the Founder and Artistic Director of Kantos Chamber Choir and the Engagement Conductor for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In the 2023-24 season, Ellie made her debut with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at The Glasshouse and with New Adventures’ production of Edward Scissorhands at Sadler’s Wells. She returns to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Singers, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North and Manchester Camerata. In July this year, Ellie will conduct Voices of the River’s Edge and the Royal Northern Sinfonia in a special concert featuring soundtracks from the world of fantasy including Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials, Harry Potter and Star Wars, as part of the BBC Proms 2024 Season.

Full details of the concert can be found at where tickets can be booked online.

Paul Crofts