GLOBE's theatre critic Peter Grant on the new state-of-the arts centre Storyhouse – a jewel in the crown - not only for Chester but Merseyside and the UK.

The new £37million theatre, cinema and vast library opened last weekend and has caused quite a stir.

Wirral's theatre and cinemagoers and booklovers – young and old - will relish this magnificent new addition to the area's vibrant arts scene.

It is, what I call, a creative village within a building.

Storyhouse brings a theatre and a cinema back to Chester after a decade long absence - a triumph of collaboration and partnership.

It incorporates the Grade 2-listed shell of the locally popular former 1936 Odeon cinema and a new brick and translucent glass extension.

The library, restaurant / cafe and boutique cinema are housed in the cinema's streamlined Art Deco interior and the 800 seat main auditorium, 150 set flexible studio along with the bar and shared backstage facilities are housed in the new brick and copper-clad extension.

The theatre will become the natural home for Storyhouse's home-produced summer festival programme of Shakespeare, new writing, chamber music and spoken word performance.

The acting company is the largest repertory ensemble in the UK, outside of the RSC and National Theatre.

Artistic Director Alex Clifton says this unique arts producing venue is inspirational – it certainly inspires him.

He told the Globe: "Storyhouse builds communities and aims to create a safe and inspiring place for delight and discovery.

"Cheshire has built a house for stories in the heart of Chester and we welcome everyone inside and out.

"Storyhouse's integrated library, theatre and cinema is internationally unique.

"This is a model for the future of culture that is getting attention from around the world". 

Globe rating: 5 Stars