Chills and thrills at Lancaster

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In the run up to Halloween, four actors from Lancaster Castle’s celebrated resident professional theatre company, Demi-paradise Productions, present their annual readings of classic ghost stories, chillingly retold in various low lit and highly atmospheric locations within Shire Hall on October 19 and 20.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens birth, producer Stephen Tomlin has unearthed a grisly yarn the writer partly set at Lancaster castle, taken from The Tale of the Two Lazy Apprentices.

This fictionalised travelogue recorded Dickens’ adventures with his close friend and fellow writer Wilkie Collins when they visited Lancaster and stayed at the old Royal Kings Arms.

Inspired by the castle’s dark history and retold by Robert Garrett in the drop room, it’s a story of greed, murder and judicial hanging.

The old cells are an ideal venue for Adam Garrett’s re-telling of The Dream Woman, a disturbing cautionary tale of misplaced love from Wilkie Collins prolific pen. Meanwhile, in crown court you can hear Gillie Kerrod bring to life The Old Nurse’s Tale, written by another great contemporary, Elizabeth Gaskell, which is a gripping gothic yarn set in a snow bound Lake District mansion. The fourth spooky offering is The Book by Margery Irwin. Published in 1930 this slyly humorous story of unfolding domestic horror has Dickensian references, and will be read in the intimate setting of the Barristers library by Jenny May Morgan.

More company information; www.demi-paradiseproductions.co.uk

Tickets £7.50 (adults) and £6.50 (concessions). Not recommended for children under 12. Doors 7 for 7.30 start. Call in or telephone Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle LA1 1YJ. Open daily 10am to 5pm. Telephone (01524) 64998