Chester Chronicle

Theatre in the Quarter has won a national award for its 2014 First World War Commemorative piece of theatre which toured railway stations across the north of England and London last year.

The award was received by playwright Helen Newall and Mid Cheshire Community Rail partnership officer Sally Buttifant at the National Community Rail Awards, held in the Riviera International Centre, Torquay on Thursday (October 1). This station-based project was performed 47 times in 2015, at 25 railway stations throughout Cheshire and at St Pancras Station in London. It involved more than 400 performers and 1,250 school children from across Cheshire. The judges described the impact of the project as ‘breath-taking’.

Sally worked alongside Theatre in the Quarter in developing the project which attracted over 20,000 audience across Cheshire alone in September of last year.

The Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership, whose line runs from Chester to Manchester line via Northwich, Knutsford and Altrincham, also won the top prize at the National Community Rail Awards. It is the first time in the history of these national awards a Community Rail Partnership alone has won the Overall Winner trophy.

Director of Over by Christmas Matt Baker said: “It was a very ambitious project but made such an impact wherever we went. The real success of this project can be attributed to successful creative partnership working, between ourselves, five rail operators, many schools and community groups and especially the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership.
Sally Buttifant, who is the officer of this partnership, was a real driving force in forging links between our company and every community we visited. When I think back now, it’s incredible how we mobilised such large numbers of people around the north west, thanks to the various rail networks who transported us.

“And for me, the most remarkable thing was to see the huge numbers of people who turned up to their local stations to be part of this special commemoration of those who left the same place a century ago, and maybe never returned.”