Chester’s LGBTQIA+ Community Celebrated In New Weekend Festival Storyhouse Queer

A new festival which puts Chester’s LGBTQIA+ community centre stage is coming to Storyhouse next month. 

Storyhouse Queer takes place at the Hunter Street venue from 24-26 February as part of LGBT+ History Month. 

The bespoke festival, in partnership with Chester Pride and co-curated with members of the community, has been organised in response to demand from groups and individuals in the city and beyond and will feature three days of events including film, theatre and workshops. 

Storyhouse Queer opens on Friday, 24 February with headliners Ginny Lemon and Sister Sister. 

The breakout stars from season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race are trying to bring you the most disappointing drag show you’ve ever seen!  

A Feeling Fabulous Dance Workshop, taking place in the Garret Theatre, will give you the chance to pose and work the catwalk like a supermodel with Ghetto Fabulous to some classic anthems. 

And it will be followed by a special Family Catwalk Extravaganza  

Get your gladrags on and join in the celebration of self-expression. Four fabulous dancers go head-to-head in a dance, fashion and lip sync competition with the audience deciding on the winner. Dress in your finest outfit, learn the moves, then take to the floor. 

The festival continues in the Garret Theatre on Saturday, 25 February with Breathe Academy designed for ages 12 – 25.  

Described by The Times as a ‘one-person music festival’, international beatboxing star and theatre-maker SK Shlomo will teach participants how to explore their own story using some of the breathtaking music technology and performance skills on show in their award-winning solo show Breathe.  

Meanwhile why not drop in to a Patch Workshop in the Kitchen where you can join members of Radiate Arts CIC who will teach you some simple embroidery and help you create a special patch representing your own identity and links to queer culture. 

And Chester Pride is running an Active Bystander workshop in the Storyhouse Meeting Room, teaching people how to intervene safely and effectively if they witness a hate crime, harassment, verbal or physical assault. 

Meanwhile on the Main Stage at 3pm Chester LGBT+ choir Proud Mary’s led by talented Chester based musical director Matt Baker.    

And Saturday night closes with award-winning new solo show Breathe, a rollercoaster love-letter to the lifesaving power of beats, bass & breathing.   

Then on Sunday, 26 February there’s a chance to Be a Better Ally. The session in the Garret Theatre will be run by Chester Pride and will give practical tips and information on how to offer your support to vulnerable people and communities. 

It will be followed in the Garret space by Banner Making with Manchester-based textile artist and researcher Sarah-Joy Ford, giving people the chance to share their own story or a memory, protest or idea through creating a mini-textile banner which can then be hung on a dowling rod – ready to be marched with or displayed at home. All materials will be provided. 

The weekend programme also includes three films being screened in the Storyhouse Cinema. 

Award-winning Blue Jean, being shown from 24 February, stars Rosy McEwan, Kerrie Hayes, Lucy Halliday and Lydia Page and is set in 1988 as Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is about to pass Section 28, prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality and stigmatising the lesbian and gay community. 

A screening at 6pm on February 25 will be followed by a Q&A with producer Hélène Sifre and Sarah L Squires, Principal Lecturer in Physical Education at Leeds Beckett University. 

Joyland, screened on 24 and 26 February, was the first Pakistani feature to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize. It centres around Lahore’s Rana family, where married youngest son Haider embarks on a secret summer romance which has a seismic effect on both him and his family. 

And on 26 February there will also be a showing of Hedda (After Ibsen), a cinematic theatrical reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. The film will be followed by a LIVE Q&A with its star David Hoyle interviewed by director Jen Heyes.  

Storyhouse communities manager George West says: “This is the first Storyhouse Queer but the plan is to make this an annual festival and for it to be a week-long event.  

What we’ve aimed to do this time is to have a real variety of work, so hopefully everyone will find something which will appeal to either try for the first time, or go to something they’re familiar with, or they feel represents them. 

“What we’d really like then is for people to come to this festival and tell us what else they’d want to see at the next one, give us more ideas, and tell us how they personally want to get involved, if they do.” 

Richard Euston, Head of Charity, Chester Pride said:
Chester Pride are pleased to be supporting Storyhouse in its exciting range of community activity for Storyhouse Queer. LGBTQ+ History Month is a key way for our community to commemorate the struggles of the past, find ways to come together to celebrate the present, and build toward a better future. Storyhouse Queer offers a great range of activities that celebrate the diverse stories of the LGBTQ+ community.



For more information, contact:   

Nancy Davies   


07886 743531  



Feeling Fabulous Dance Workshop 

Date: Friday, 24 February 

Time: 1.30pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5/ Storyhouse Members £4 


Family Catwalk Extravaganza 

Date: Friday, 24 February 

Time: 2.30pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: Adults £8/ Storyhouse Members £7/ Children £5 / Storyhouse Members £4 / Young Storyhouse Card £5 


Ginny Lemon & Sister Sister 

Date: Friday, 24 February 

Time: 7.30pm 

Venue: Storyhouse Theatre 

Tickets: £21.50/ £19.50 Storyhouse Members/ Meet-and-Greet £36.50/ Meet-and-Greet Storyhouse Members £33/ Young Storyhouse Card discount available 


Patch Workshop 

Date: Saturday, 25 February 

Time: 10am-2pm 

Venue: The Kitchen 

Tickets: Free, drop in 


Don’t Be a Bystander: Intervention Training 

Date: Saturday, 25 February 

Time: 12pm 

Venue: Meeting Room 

Tickets: Free, bookable  


Breathe Academy 

Date: Saturday, 25 February 

Time: 3pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £8/ Storyhouse Members £7/ Young Storyhouse Card £5 


Proud Marys  

Date: Saturday, 25 February 

Time: 3pm  

Venue: Main Stage  

Tickets: £10 / Storyhouse Members £9/ Young Storyhouse Card £5 



Date: Saturday, 25 February  

Time: 8pm  

Venue: Garret Theatre  

Tickets: £16.50 / Storyhouse Members  


Be a Better Ally 

Date: Sunday, 26 February 

Time: 11am 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: Free, bookable 


Banner Making Workshop 

Date: Sunday, 26 February 

Time: 1pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: Free, bookable 



Blue Jean (15) 

Date: Friday, 24 February  

Time: Various 

Venue: Storyhouse Cinema 



Joyland (15) 

Date: Friday, 24 February/ Sunday, 26 February 

Time: 8.15pm 24 February/ 5.30pm 26 February 

Venue: Storyhouse Cinema 



Hedda (After Ibsen) 

Plus Q&A with David Hoyle  

Date: Sunday, 26 February 

Time: 3pm 

Venue: Storyhouse Cinema 


About Storyhouse   

Storyhouse is one of the UK’s foremost cultural centres incorporating a library, theatres and a cinema. It is one of the country’s most successful arts buildings, with more than one million customer visits each year.  

The pioneering new library within Storyhouse, where members of the community work alongside city librarians, boasts the longest opening hours of any UK public library and is open every day until 11pm. It runs over 2,000 sessions a year for marginalised communities  

The company also runs a highly successful theatre company and the country’s most successful regional open-air theatre, in the city’s Grosvenor Park and Moonlight Flicks open air cinema.   

Storyhouse currently holds the official title as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre and was the overall national winner in the 2018 Guardian Public Service Awards  

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