Spotlight on: Storyhouse Elders

A new festival programmed by, aimed at and celebrating the lives of older people in Chester is at Storyhouse from 10-22 October.

The event is the idea of a number of community groups within the city and is being co-curated by their members along with the team at Storyhouse. The Storyhouse Elders focus group are aged between 50 and 85 and have volunteered their time to programme the festival. They each represent a different group and community from across Chester.  

The festival will unfold over 12 days of music, dance, theatre, workshops, storytelling, films, wellness activities and crafting and festivalgoers are also being invited to try out some of Storyhouse’s regular programme of free activities including book clubs, board games and ‘chatter and natter’ events..

Suzie Henderson, Creative Director at Storyhouse explains: “Storyhouse Elders explores and challenges the societal perceptions of age and ageing and the impact of creating and experiencing art in later life. At Storyhouse we believe everyone is an artist and it is never too late to try something new, return to a creative passion from the past and to experience and celebrate the work of older artists. As a society we have much to learn from the older members of our community and creativity is the perfect vehicle to share and connect.”

Storyhouse Souvenir Shop, a new sensory art installation will celebrate the heyday of the great British seaside holiday from the post-war years until the 1960s, and workshops will offer the change to make cards and bath bombs, or to create a Life Story by collating key moments on to a single sheet of paper.

On the cinema screen, Blacon-based group Here and Now will screen the premiere of its series of digital stories inspired by seaside holidays, as well as a relaxed and dementia friendly screening of West Side Story. There is also the chance to enjoy an afternoon of free live jazz and a silent disco where participants can choose to whether to dance along to 80s rock ballads or 60s pop.

Keep on Dancing! organised in partnership with Cheshire Dance will see over 50s dance groups from across Cheshire joining forces for the first time, and a performance of Spice of Life by Haylo Theatre offers, a funny and thought-provoking piece of storytelling which challenges society’s approach to old age. The Royal Exchange Theatre’s Elders Group will perform their play Dominoes and Dahlias (+Oware!). 

There will also be tours of Storyhouse allowing festivalgoers a peek behind the scenes ,and  a pop-up Makers Market, offers the chance to buy handcrafted items from talented creatives of all ages. 

Lots of the events are free, find out more and see the full programme at  

If you would like to join the Storyhouse Elders focus group to help programme future events, pkease email