Chelmsford’s Theatres new summer season highlights

The new summer season at Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre and Cramphorn Studio has something for everyone from top quality drama, to comedy and great music.

“There’s a great program of quality drama, comedy, live music, cinema and living legends this Summer, right here in the heart of the City” said Tom Johnson, Manager, Chelmsford City Theatres. “We even have the first Chelmsford Film Festival this year, an event that will be very popular” Tom added.

The drama highlights include ‘Strictly Murder’ (23 – 24 May). Set in Provence, France in April 1939 where Peter and Suzy – an English couple, are living in idyllic isolation from the world and oblivious to the oncoming world war. Their tranquility is suddenly shattered when a stranger from Peter’s past arrives and unearths secrets from a buried and hidden life which throws Suzy’s world into turmoil. The fast-paced thriller stars Brian Capron (Coronation Street), Corrinne Wicks (Doctors) and Gary Turner (Emmerdale). On a lighter note, adapted from the film of the same name, ‘Brassed Off’ (11-14 October) is set in the North of England in 1992, and is the tale of the Grimley Colliery Band’s attempt to get to the National Brass Band Competition at the Royal Albert Hall whilst their coal pit faces closure. A full brass band joins the cast to play all the favorites from the film. Another comedy ‘Stand Up Stand Up’ (29-30 June) is Jim Cartwright’s dark comedy that is equally hilarious and heartbreaking. A struggling comedian meets a bailiff who has secret show business dreams. Together they form an unlikely alliance that leads to a rollercoaster adventure.

For music lovers, September in Chelmsford will be ‘Music Month’ with live music taking over the theatres. The world’s number one Jimi Hendrix tribute ‘Are You Experienced?’ stops off at the Civic on 8 September to play all the hits in a note perfect performance. The BBC Big Band will bring their Ella Fitzgerald 2017 Centenary Concert on 9 September and will play all the classic songs as well as some of Ella’s hidden gems. Other tribute shows in September include homages to Burt Bacharach (14 September), Karen Carpenter (15 September), Billy Fury (17 September), George Michael (21 September) and David Bowie (22 September). Former singer with Stiltskin and Genesis, Ray Wilson, comes to the Civic on 23 September and will belt out all of the Genesis hits as he celebrates the legacy of the band.

Top comedians will be gracing the Civic’s stage this season too. Star of ‘Mock The Week’, Andy Parsons will be performing his ‘Peak Bullshi*T’ tour on Wednesday 3 May and will be encouraging you to forget your worries and put on your lucky pants and to come out and have a laugh. The crowned king of alternative comedy, Stewart Lee, will return to the Civic on 18 October after his sold out ‘Content Provider’ show in the spring.

The Chelmsford Film Festival launches on Friday 9 June as a celebration of the world’s best short films. The festival will feature talks from film industry figures, networking, awards ceremony as well as the best short films made locally, nationally and internationally. The Chelmsford Picture House will continue to show the very best films including; Paterson (13 June), Hacksaw Ridge (16 June), Snowden (30 June), T2 Trainspotting (3 July), Miss Sloane (21 July) and Dirty Dancing (10 August), to highlight just a few. The Picture House also screens live performances from Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company with the highlights being Othello (28 June) and Hamlet (6 July).

The world’s greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be talking about his life including his childhood, misdemeanors at school, army life and the adventures that made his name, when he visits the Civic on Monday 3 July.

For families, there is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen’s classic story brought vividly to life direct from its West End run. Join in the adventure when it comes to the Civic on 8 and 9 June. The Gruffalo has songs, laughs and scary fun when the stage adaption of Julia Donaldson’s classic story comes to the stage on 19 and 20 September.

These are just a few of the highlights of the Summer season. Full details can be found online at

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