A NEW theatre in Ellesmere Port is opening its doors in August after a £2.8m development, funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Arts Council England.

The venue will be the only specialist, purpose-built theatre and cultural centre for children and young people in Cheshire.

The doors of the new theatre and cultural centre in Whitby Park, Ellesmere Port will open on August 10 2022.

A special free extravaganza weekend on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August, will include outdoor shows, walk-about performances, and special events alongside the ‘Once Upon a Time’ art installation and adventure trail.

The first of the public openings this August marks a new era for the company under its new name Theatre Porto, which was decided on following consultation with local young people, based on the ideas of child-centredness, place and playfulness.

Stacey, who grew up in Ellesmere Port, and who worked with the theatre as a young person, said: “It's about it being local, It's about community. It's so nice for the people of Ellesmere port to be able to own something and say, ‘this is really good and its ours.”

The company has been a producer of original theatre and wide-ranging youth and community work for over 35 years.

Founded in 1986 as Action Transport Theatre, the company has a strong trackrecord, transforming the lives of local children, young people, and wider communities. 

The theatre has a state-of-the-art 150-seat flexible auditorium for performances and film screenings; rehearsal rooms; workshop rooms; a temporary gallery, spaces for artists and a new café with an outdoor terrace.

There is also a 300-seat amphitheatre in Whitby Park open all year round, and where Theatre Porto will host its’ Summer Programme of outdoor events, free for everyone.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “I am so excited that the wait is over, and the transformed Whitby Hall is ready to welcome audiences and performers again.

"I’ve been following the work and I know how important this will be for the young people of Ellesmere Port and across the borough.

"This new cultural building will make its mark on young lives for many years to come. It is also the start of many more plans for Ellesmere Port over the next few years."

The new build transformation was designed by the Manchester studio of London-based awardwinning architects Bennetts Associates who designed Storyhouse.

Nina Hajiyianni, Artistic Director of Theatre Porto, said: “Theatre Porto co-create and present the highest quality theatre experiences for families, young audiences, and participants.

"We provide a welcoming and accessible space for all children and young people, to tap into their creativity and potential. Our mission is to champion their ideas and creativity and at the same time, create opportunities for adults to rediscover their sense of curiosity and playfulness."

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