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Chester Storyhouse announces plans to reopen to public as early as possible and use theatre as a cinema

The arts hub has a cinema, theatre and more offerings

Storyhouse Chester
© Peter Cook

Chester Storyhouse has announced plans to re-open its building "as soon as the government allows and as early as 4 July".

In a statement CEO Andrew Bentley said "Like every other theatre in the country we are fighting to survive, and that jeopardy is very real unless something changes. There are plenty of headlines about theatres going into hibernation, we are a diverse business so that's not for us. We will be open and supporting our community from day one, just as they are showing such support for us right now. It's time for the country's theatres to think about how they can re-open to serve their communities."

The award-winning Chester venue, which also operates as a cinema and arts complex, has said it will "open as soon as any part of its business is able to do so safely".

Many venues across the UK have stated that they intend to remain closed until as late as next year, though few have the same range of attractions as the Storyhouse in Chester.

The theatre plans to turn its main stage into a cinema until Christmas, and will launch a drive-in cinema season.

Artistic director Alex Clifton said: "We'll do what we can. If theatres aren't going to be able to stage shows in the autumn, then we're not going to wait. If we can't gather people together around a stage, we'll bring them together around a screen.

"We will open in any way we can to safely serve our community with great stories and joyful shared experiences. We will relentlessly pursue our mission at this time when our diverse communities need us most."

The venue has said that it has seen a spike in brand new memberships as parts of the community rally together. Earlier this year the Storyhouse was forced to cancel its outdoor summer season, which accounted for one fifth of its annual ticketed income.