Chester Storyhouse is serving some seasonal joy to theatre lovers young and old this Christmas in two initiatives to ensure as wide an audience as possible can enjoy its new production of Oliver Twist!
More than 500 free tickets for the festive show are being given away to schools and care providers in the city to allow young people, many of them from vulnerable or disadvantaged backgrounds, the opportunity to experience live theatre.
And in addition to young audiences, Storyhouse is inviting Chester care homes to apply to receive a live stream of the production direct from Hunter Street for all their residents to watch.
Oliver Twist! will be live streamed on selected afternoon and teatime dates throughout the run, including a live captioned streaming on Boxing Day.
Care homes who want to apply to receive a free live stream of the Dickens classic should email email@example.com with the name of the home and contact details so information about the streaming link can be supplied.
Storyhouse head of development Kate Mylchreest says: “Storyhouse is committed to providing opportunities for the most disadvantaged in our community. And through our extensive range of partners, we’re pleased to be able to provide 500 free tickets to see our joyous Christmas show Oliver Twist to schools, partner charities and care homes this Christmas.”
Bridge Short Stay School is one of the Chester schools receiving tickets.
Teacher Adele O’Gorman says: “We’re incredibly grateful to Storyhouse for offering our students free tickets. The arts are so important, and for some of our students this will be the first time they have ever experienced going to the theatre.
“Our students come from many different backgrounds and for most, their education journey has been tough. At the Bridge Short Stay School, we aim to support transitions to a bright future, and this includes providing opportunities such as this.
“With the help of Storyhouse, we can provide access to the arts to further improve the lives of our students, help challenge and inspire their views of the world and instil important values to help shape the people they will become.
“We’re all very excited and can’t thank them enough.”
The new production of the Dickens favourite, adapted by Alex Clifton, runs from 4 December to 16 January 2022.
The colourful characters of the Victorian classic are brought vividly to life by an eight-strong cast of professional actors and by members of Storyhouse Youth Theatre. The director is Kash Arshad-Kay and Matt Ganley is musical director.
Oliver Twist is born in the workhouse and brought up in an orphanage before being apprenticed to the local undertaker Mr Sowerberry.
When he gets into trouble because of a dispute with another apprentice, he runs away to London where he is befriended by the street-savvy Jack Dawkins, otherwise known as the Artful Dodger, and taken under the wing of Jack’s benefactor – the criminal Svengali Fagin.
Will picking a pocket or two for the wily Fagin be the innocent young Oliver’s fate? Or will the kindness of strangers win the day?
The Storyhouse Production is being staged to full audiences but with social distancing performances available on selected dates during the run.
There will also be relaxed, captioned, signed and audio described performances.
Find out more here