Liverpool, United Kingdom



Storyhouse is a large, mixed-use cultural building in Chester, England, which opened in May 2017. The complex includes a theatre, cinema, restaurant and the city library. It is housed in the remodelled 1936 Odeon Cinema, a grade-II-listed building, together with a newly built extension to hold the theatre auditorium.

The Odeon cinema opened in Chester on 3 October 1936. It was designed in the Art Deco style by Robert Bullivant, under the leadership of Harry Weedon, with a total auditorium capacity of over 1600 seats. While most Odeons of that time were faced in ceramic tiles, red brick was used in Chester to respect its historic setting, near both the cathedral and the Victorian town hall. In 1976 the Odeon was converted to a three screen cinema; two more screens were added in 1991. The main internal fabric and proscenium arch remained intact. The building was listed Grade II by Historic England, then English Heritage, in 1989. The Odeon closed in 2007 and remained unused until the Storyhouse development. The Gateway Theatre in the centre of town opened in 1969, with a capacity of 440 seats. It was closed by the City Council in 2007 to make way for the proposed Northgate development, which was intended to include a new theatre. As a consequence of the financial crisis of 2008, the development did not proceed. The project has subsequently been resurrected; the current proposal does not contain a theatre, but includes a multi screen cinema. From 2007 onwards, there was neither a professional theatre or cinema in Chester city, though the studio theatre of the now defunct Gateway is used by non-professional groups. The Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre opened in 2010. It has an eight week summer repertory season held in an open air theatre constructed each summer in Grosvenor Park. It typically shows a Shakespeare comedy and a tragedy, plus an adaptation of a children's classic. The company was originally known as Chester Performs and in 2016 became the basis of the Storyhouse theatre company.

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