Back outside by popular demand

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Lancaster’s Dukes Theatre is to present outdoor walkabout theatre again in Williamson Park the summer of 2013 – by public demand.

Financial problems has led the theatre taking a break from its park productions to stage and tour a revival of its home grown Lancashire witches drama – Sabbat – commemorating the 400th anniversary of the witch trials in the city.

But such has been the demand for resident outdoor theatre to be re-instated that The Dukes has reviewed its options and a yet to be named show will return in 2013.

The Dukes director, Joe Sumsion, said: “We said Merlin would be our last outdoor walkabout theatre show for the foreseeable future but since then, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response to our park shows from the public and artistic community.”

The Dukes, a registered charity, receives core funding from the Arts Council England, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council.

Lancashire County Councillor Mike Calvert, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “As well as being hugely popular with locals and visitors alike, the promenade is a significant event in Lancashire’s cultural calendar and receives national acclaim.”

The Dukes is calling on all those who value the park show to support a major fundraising drive which will supplement its core funding.

Joe Sumsion added: “As the pressure on the public purse increases, our challenge is to find new ways to increase investment and to encourage more people to play their part in supporting us. The fantastic public reaction to the park shows, combined with progress we are making in other areas, is giving us the confidence to plan ambitiously for the future – and that will include walkabout theatre in Lancaster’s beautiful Williamson Park.”

Last summer The Dukes celebrated 25 years of outdoor walkabout theatre in Williamson Par and attracted an audience of 17,900.