Chester Performs – Roam The Rows – August 2009


The organisers of Chester’s newest summer event have revealed that it will be specially extended for 2009 in a bid to improve the retail offer in the city.

Following the success of last year’s event, which attracted 5,000 visitors, city arts organisation Chester Performs will run their Roam the Rows programme over four separate weekends in August.

Organisers of the free community street arts celebration, are asking residents to save the dates for this year’s event which will take place 9th, 16th, 23rd 29th and 30th August.

The event will take place along Watergate Street, whose shops don’t normally trade on Sundays, this year Chester Performs is collaborating with Chester City Management and asking retailers to open their shops and add to the event offer.

Watergate Street and Rows, the heart of Chester’s independent shopping quarter, will be brimming with performance and visual arts. Organisers have commissioned  community artists to work with local schools and community groups to create projects that will be showcased during the event. Businesses and retailers are also being invited to participate.

Amber Knipe, Programme Manager, Chester Performs said “After last year’s Roam the Rows we received lots of feedback asking for the event to be extended, we’re very excited about staging the activities for four weekends in August. Engagement with local schools and community groups is at the heart of our programme, Roam the Rows also provides the rare opportunity to work with retailers and businesses.’

Event highlights

A giant 3D board game will take centre stage along the pedestrian zone of Watergate Street. TV set designer and visual artist Caroline Daly, will create the board game with local schools where people will adopt the role of the game’s counters, and 3D objects inspired by Chester’s history will form the obstacles. This interactive piece will create a event vibe for all the family.

Chester based artist Katie Condon has taken her inspiration from Chester Zoo’s butterfly house, she will work with school children to create hundreds of butterflies to dress the rows’ ceilings, using recycled refuse from charity shops and homes.

Live art performer Alice Robinson, who performed during last year’s Roam the Rows, as the Shopaholic, is back to develop a group of characters who’ll occupy ‘zones’ along the rows and perform improvised scenarios. Robinson will work with community groups to create the characters that will animate the rows and interact with the audience and one another. Examples of characters are a flower woman in world of flora, a traveller, a salesman and a fortune teller.

Visual artist Michikio Fujii’s inter-generational project Postcards from the Edge will work with Chester residents to explore the city and translate their findings onto postcards, either through photography, illustrations or rubbings. Fujii’s vision is to create an ‘ever evolving exhibition’ which will be installed along Watergate Row. As well as the discoveries of workshop participants, equipment will be on hand for event attenders to create their own perceptions.

Chester based artist, Simone Cobbold will adopt a green theme for her project, by creating life size paper chain people embellished with recycled junk. Adorned with random bric-a-brac and recycled refuse, life size carbon copies of workshop participants will be installed as a giant paper chain along the rows. The cut-outs will also be positioned in shop windows, hung in alley ways, balanced on banisters and straddling stairways.

Roam the Rows is a free event, simply wander along to Watergate Street, anytime between 11.30am – 3pm on 9th, 16th, 23rd, 29th and 30th August. For more details visit