CHESTER'S Storyhouse has announced its Christmas show.

A Christmas Carol will open in early November to a limited audience of around 200 per night.

Storyhouse, which sold over 5,000 tickets in the space of just two weeks for A Comedy of Errors in August, will be one of only a handful of venues in the country running Christmas shows this year.

The shows will take place on the theatre’s more intimate thrust stage – at around 40% of the normal capacity – to allow for social distancing.

With only less than half the normal number of seats on sale, the venue is starting Christmas early to allow for the expected demand.

Storyhouse’s own artistic director Alex Clifton is both writing and directing the adaptation of Dickens’ best loved story.

He said: "It’s going to make you cry and giggle your heart out; it’s the ultimate tale of redemption and how Christmas can make us all realise what’s important to us – family and community, something we all need more than ever right now.

"It's a tale for every generation and hopefully can give us all a joyful taste of our normal lives, as we spend Christmas together at Storyhouse."

Storyhouse is currently the only major theatre in the region planning to stage a full-size Christmas show and is bucking the trend, which sees most UK theatres closed until at least the spring of next year.

CEO Andrew Bentley said: "This is about preserving jobs and serving our community, simple as that. Storyhouse was the country’s first theatre, first library and cinema to re-open, we're doing that because we're wanted and needed.

"We can’t expect our city to help us if we’re not prepared to go the distance."

The venue’s battle for survival continues following a successful summer of open-air theatre and cinema.

Andrew added: "The prospect for the UK’s cultural venues is becoming worse since the summer, with venues opening dates getting pushed further and further back.

"We expect subsidies to become harder to find as government budgets are harder come by and at the moment 70% of UK theatres are still at risk of extinction beyond Christmas.

"The danger is they’ll be bailed out in the short term but find they have no audience left. We have had over 4,000 new members join us since the summer and we would urge everyone to help save Storyhouse by joining with us at Christmas, we’ll be repaying the love with a cracking family holiday show."

  • Tickets go on sale on Friday, September 18 for Storyhouse members. General sale commences from October 12.