Don’t forget a hamper

PIrates of Penzance - Lytham hall

PIrates of Penzance - Lytham hall

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Whatever the weather there’s a sunny outlook for the summer months of 2012 – at least for fans of outdoor theatre on the Fylde coast, with 12 different shows on offer from Lytham to Lancaster.

First up for the picnic hamper brigade is Jane Austen’s Emma, adapted for the stage by Laura Turner, which will see Lincoln-based Chapterhouse Theatre Company making their Lytham debut opening a season of four plays at Lytham Hall on Friday June 15.

Clara Redmond, 25, in her first summer season with Chapterhouse, will play the title role is looking forward and is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a skilled and thoughtful adaptation by Laura Turner and we have very much been enjoying the rehearsals,” she said. “Our visit to Lytham is just the fourth show on a 25 venue tour, so we should be nicely into our routine and still full of freshness.”

The Dean Taylor Shakespeare company, based in Walton-le-Dale , near Preston and touring for the 10th year in Lancashire, will visit Rossall School in Fleetwood where they have enjoyed increased attendances in the past two years. There will be afternoon and evening performances of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor on Tuesday June 19.

Promenade performances of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream make a welcome addition to the summer programme at Lytham’s Lowther Gardens. Page2Stage will be in action from Wednesday to Sunday June 20 to 24.

Illyria, widely acclaimed as one of the country’s best open air touring troupes, will visit Lytham Hall three times.

Their innovative style will see a cast of five doubling up furiously as they present Henry V, directed by Oliver Gray, on Tuesday July 3.

Just eight days later on Thursday July 12 the company sails back into Lytham with their second Gilbert and Sullivan operetta – this year Pirates of Penzance.

Finally on Bank Holiday Sunday August 26 at 4pm Illyria will bring their stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s favourite The Twits to round off the Lytham Hall season.

Lizzy Dive, a regular with the casts of Illyria’s Roald Dahl plays, feels that the Twits is especially appealing to children.

“The adult characters in The Twits are even more grotesque than usual and of course that makes them doubly attractive to youngsters!” she said. “We have had a very warm response on our last two visits to Lytham Hall where the sheltered setting in the trees and absence of traffic noise are ideal for the actors.”

Families will again enjoy Wednesday afternoons from July 25 to August 22 when Lytham’s Lowther Rose Garden will host the Storytellers Theatre Company from Pendle who will present five outdoor performances for children including The Wizard of Oz and Treasure Island.

Details of the plays and booking arrangements can be found on the websites of the companies and venues now.

www.chapterhouse.org and www.illyria.uk.com for Lytham Hall, www.shakespearetheatreoutdoors.co.uk for Dean Taylor and www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk for Lowther Gardens.