Kevin Metchear from Chickenshed on what audiences can expect at the theatre this festive season
Don’t get me wrong; here at Chickenshed, we’re very used to being busy.
Two-hundred students are in the building most days, 800 members of our children’s and youth theatres attend their regular sessions and rehearsals throughout the week and at weekends, plus we have more than 300 performances every year in our various performance spaces.
What’s more, over the past year we’ve added a programme of classes and workshops; such as yoga, pilates, chi gung, mindfulness and kettle-bell weight training; which have all attracted new people through our doors for the first time.
I’ve been working at Chickenshed for 12 years and I can confirm that it’s been getting busier every year – and it wasn’t exactly quiet when I started! Some time ago I took on the additional role of overseeing commercial development and as part of that I began a process to examine precisely how we were using our amazing building. As a result, we’ve been able to welcome some amazing local people and organisations to run events and fundraisers over the past year.
In making these links, our aim has always been to look beyond the purely commercial benefits for both sides and to embrace opportunities to partner with those who are able to share our vision of a world where everyone is welcomed and included.
In the coming months we’ll host 59 performances of our fab festive show Snow White with a diverse cast of 800 (split into four different casts, so 200 per show). As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll also have another great show running at the same time; Christmas Tales is aimed at young children up to six years and there’ll be 20 performances in total, meaning we’ll have as many as four shows in a single day!
We’ve also slotted in some amazing festive gigs on the Snow White set, featuring Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, Judie Tzuke and Liane Carroll. And finally we’ve got a Christmas market and our pop-up charity shop every Wednesday.
I also want to mention that we recently took over running of the Chickenshed café and theatre bar after a ten-year period of it being run by third parties. We’ve been working hard to build a new menu, with the underlying principle that all profits go to support the amazing work that Chickenshed does, giving opportunities to young people.
Please do try to find time to visit us over the upcoming months; we’d love to show you what the world looks like when you let everyone in to play their part.
For show times and ticket information at Chickenshed Theatre: