CITY arts organisation Chester Performs has been shortlisted for the 2014 Lever Prize.
Awarded annually to recognise the achievements of arts organisations in the North West, the prize was inspired by Lord Leverhulme, the Bolton-born soap magnate famed for his patronage of the arts.
Chester Performs will be up against the Royal Exchange, Everyman and Playhouse, Contact Theatre and Manchester Museum.
Andrew Bentley of Chester Performs said he was delighted to be shortlisted.
He said: “It’s our equivalent of the Turner Prize. Winning would be the highest accolade we could hope for from our peers and the region.
“It is an enormous honour to be shortlisted against strong competition and alongside such august company. It’s clear recognition of the hard work of our fantastic team. We’ll do all we can to bring the prize back to Chester.”
Chester Performs creates, produces and stages arts projects in and around the city including the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester Music Festival and Chester Literature Festival.
Mr Bentley said: “No doubt the phenomenal success of Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, the re-birth of the MBNA Chester Music Festival and the introduction of the fabulous Moonlight Flicks this year have been behind our success in being shortlisted.
“We have just had the most amazing summer jam-packed full of fantastic cultural events. This recognition is a clear indication of how far we have come as a city.
“Nobody visiting Chester this summer can be in any doubt of the quality and range on offer.”
The Lever Prize is awarded by Northwest Business Leadership Team in partnership with Arts and Business.
The winner will be announced at a glittering ceremony in the New Year and will receive a trophy, a cash prize and the opportunity to develop working relationships with some of the region’s most influential business leaders.
Previous winners have included Manchester International Festival, Tate Liverpool and the National Football Museum in Manchester.