Chelmsford City Theatres and Events are committed to establishing new and exciting creative partnerships and developing local talent.
Our vision is to increase the number of in-house productions and co-productions, working with a diverse range of organisations and individuals, from directors and producers to cast and crew.
On this page we have selected a few of our most recent collaborative projects.
As part of an exciting new programme of shows, Chelmsford City Theatres bought Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet into the 21st-century using local professional actors. Set in current times, the production confronts contemporary social issues and considers the impact of crime. The production took a very fresh approach, raising awareness and interest, by creating a number of simple, but arresting, graffiti installations around the city.
Artistic Director Ian Knowles explained “Chelmsford City Council, which owns the Theatres, is committed to addressing crime and gang-related issues and works with its Safer Chelmsford partners on a number of projects to deal with it, including education. I believe culture and art have a role to play in bringing a new light to the issues which affect our society - our aim for the production was simply to spark discussion and thought”.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
Chelmsford City Theatres teamed up with West End star Lee Mead to bring an intimate production of the award-winning play ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ to our Cramphorn Studio. Lee, well known for his roles in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and BBC dramas ‘Casualty’ and ‘Holby City’, both starred in and co-produced the Frank McGuinness’s play. A hostage drama, the play was inspired by the stories of Brian Keenan, John McCarthy, and Terry Waite, who were kidnapped in Beirut in the 1980s.
Lee said he’d been waiting for an opportunity like this adding “I’ve was looking for a play I felt passionate about to make a return to the stage in a dramatic role. The story of ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ seemed more relevant than ever, and I was thrilled to bring the production to a new audience in Chelmsford where I first started my career in acting”.
The Power Behind the Microphone
As the COVID-19 Pandemic struck in 2020, Chelmsford City Theatres marked the centenary of Britain’s first radio entertainment broadcast by live streaming a new play. Produced, as an original production, by Artistic Director Ian Knowles and co-written by Felicity Fair Thompson and Tim Wander.
The play charts the story of the remarkable Marconi Company who bought the world’s most famous opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, to the Marconi New Street Works to perform a radio concert, after Winifred Sayer, a local young soprano sang in a series of experimental broadcasts earlier that year.
Edinburgh Music Review said ‘Chelmsford City Theatres decided to become the only venue in the UK to attempt a live stage broadcast in lockdown conditions on 15 June 2020… This was a brave step into the unknown while everyone was still trying to get their heads around how to make theatre work again’.
Echoes From Essex
An innovative singing project revealed the stories of extraordinary Essex women in science. Chelmsford City Theatres teamed up with Electric Voice Theatre and the Essex Music Education Hub to create ‘Echoes from Essex’, a programme of events which celebrated some of the county’s remarkable women, past and present.
The centrepiece of the project, which was part of Essex 2020, was the Essex Virtual Choir. Singers learned and performed music inspired by women in science and created by British female composers.