Arts and festivals
There are lots of creative and fun arts opportunities in Chester. Whatever your age, ability or interest you can find events, festivals and activities to suit you.
Theatre in the Quarter is Chester’s leading professional theatre company. Founded in 2005, it has quickly gained a reputation for original music theatre, engaging with professional actors, musicians, directors and designers, as well as numerous members of the community, of all ages and abilities.
Chester’s brightest and biggest community based parade, The Midsummer Watch Parade takes place over the mid summer solstice weekend, and promises to surprise and excite year on year with fire breathing, giants, pirates and more.
Chester also hosts many sporting events such as the annual Marathon and Half Marathon, as well as Cancer Research’s Race for Life and Dee Mile Swim.
Based in the Northgate Quarter, the Chester Film Co-op is a creative place for film-makers and artists to meet, make and watch films, and share ideas. The Co-op initiative is part of RE:NEW , the name of the development project set to transform Chester’s 1936 Odeon building into a new world-class theatre, library and cinema.
Chester Performs is a leading arts producer based in Chester. They create, produce and stage innovative and exciting arts projects in and around the city. Specialising in creating and presenting site specific work, their summer programme includes: the nationally acclaimed Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Family Saturdays with something for all the family every Saturday in July and August at Chester’s glorious Roman amphitheatre, and Moonlight Flicks, a new magical moonlit movie season in the enchanting setting of Chester’s Roman Gardens.
Each October Essar’s Chester Literature Festival works its cultural magic, warming up every cold day and night for a fortnight.
With Booker winning novelists, TV and radio stars, stand up poets, historians with attitude and a host of workshops, the festival comes with a different added theme each year.
Performed every five years, the Chester Mystery Plays attract visitors from all over the world and are one of the few remaining cycles of English Mystery Plays. The Chester Mystery Plays were performed at Chester Cathedral on 26 June - 13 July 2013, and will return to the city in 2018.
Cheshire Open Studios is an exciting and successful free annual event that takes place annually in Cheshire over 3-4 weekends in September. During this time between 40-80 artists and craft makers open their studios each year, either as individuals or in-groups.
The Grosvenor Museum houses collections exploring the history of Chester, its art and silver heritage, and its natural history. The Open Art Exhibition runs from March to June. This biennial show celebrates the best of the region’s contemporary art, providing a diverse and stimulating exhibition for the public and giving artists in the area an opportunity to show their work.
Chester History and Heritage is a local and family history resource centre housed in the beautiful St Michael’s Church, on historic Bridge Street Row in the centre of Chester. We have a variety of sources for you to explore and use, whether you are researching your family, enjoy looking at old photographs of Chester, or simply want to call in and watch our film show. Come and look at our latest exhibitions too, or have a chat about your memories and stories of living, growing up, working and socialising in Chester.