‘The Seagull’ theatre trip

50 Friends set off to Salford Quays on a sunny March day to see this final play put on by Manchester’s renowned Library Theatre Company under the helm of their long-serving artistic director Chris Honer. Anton Chekhov used his 1896 tragi-comedy to consider the future of theatre itself, so there was something particularly poignant about this being their very last production before relocating in 2015 to an impressive purpose-built venue under the new banner of ‘Home’ (a future trip perhaps?). As Chris Honer is stepping down after 25 years, we were privileged to hear his farewell pre-show talk before he hands over to his successor. As ever it was filled with insightful commentary on the playwright and this new version of his play, which enhanced our understanding and enjoyment of the performance that followed.
It proved to be a fresh re-imagining of a Russian classic by the award-winning young playwright Anya Reiss, in which the setting was relocated to the world of contemporary middle-class Britain. The drama therefore unfolded against a backdrop of I-pods, laptops and mobile phones. However it all worked well to give the action immediacy and relevance, and the talented cast did an excellent job of drawing us into their circle of angst-ridden relationships. Did we like any of the characters? Probably not that much, but we certainly felt their pain as the tragedy unfolded towards its inevitable conclusion.

While perhaps that all sounds a bit on the heavy side, the fact is that we had a great time watching it and a lovely day out. So bring on the next theatre trip in October!     Elizabeth Lambrakis

Theatre in the Park (5)

Cheshire Young Carers

Since the last newsletter went out in June, we took a group of Cheshire Young Carers to see ‘The Secret Garden’ at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. It was a wonderful production featuring a talented cast of actors and puppets, and a good time was had by all the young people – as you will see from the photo above!  We hope you will agree that CYC are very worthwhile recipients of our continued support.


with…..Something Different, The Shed!

Friends of Chester Literature Festival sponsored a free event to celebrate the poet’s  centenary year. A scaled down replica of his iconic Writing Shed was placed in the Town Hall Square for two days. Cestrians flocked to visit it and to soak up its unique atmosphere. It seemed as if the poet had just left his shed for a moment. On his desk were facsimiles of his lists of words, which he always created to be used later for his poetry, alongside some boiled sweets and an overflowing ashtray.   The original shed sits above the Boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, where Thomas lived for four years before he died in 1953. Creators of the replica shed have paid close attention to detail right down to the curling faded pictures on the wall.
Visitors to the shed had the opportunity to invent a new word and definition which will be published in a “Dictionary of Dylan,” in recognition of his great love of words. On Friday, poet Glyn Edwards took his place in the shed and wrote poems for visitors. On Saturday, many Friends gathered in “The Coach House” for a glass of wine and to listen to readings from Dylan Thomas’ work presented by two accomplished Welsh bards, Evan Jones and David Subacchi, aided and abetted by Friends , Ray, Derek, Carol and Helen.   (Carol Archer)

Hay possible resized

Trip to the Book Festival at Hay-on-Wye – Thursday 28th May 2015.


Hooray! What a great away-day in Hay!

Here are some thoughts put forward by members on the return journey from The Hay Festival on 28th May:

An excellent, stimulating day of intellectual, retail, cultural and gastronomic experiences. Such diversity of speakers, food and music.

Thought provoking talks by: Raymond Tallis, about his life from the viewpoint of his future corpse; Phil Hammond and Pam Ayres, witty and entertaining; Wales’s chief vet a world authority on Bovine TB;

Scholarly meandering around the Mappa Mundi; the passion and compassion of Viginia McKenna and Lauren St. John of the Born Free Foundation. John Sergeant extolling the delights of barging round Britain.

Great to meet the team of Radio 4′s The Listening Project and the talk on radio drama. Enjoyed hearing voices in poetry and prose and the drawing sessions.

Wonderful experience soaking up the atmosphere, all ages with families very much in evidence; what a gift to a book-lover;

A cream tea, a blackcurrant ice cream and a big dollop of culture on top!

Thank you so much, so well organised.