OUTDOOR theatre fans on the Fylde coast have won top marks from the organiser of the Lytham Hall open air season.
Julian Wilde who staged the four successful productions by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company and Illyria between June and August, attended by a record 1400 people, handed over a cheque for £2,600 to Lytham Hall administrator Jane Oliver at a special ceremony at the Georgian stately home.
At the end of wettest ever summer a glorious Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon in August produced the best attendance of Illyria’s 78 date countrywide tour, as 750 theatre enthusiasts attended Illyria’s production of the Roald Dahl favourite The Twits.
“I will always look back with affection at our very special open air summer of 2012,” said Julian. “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, thousands supporting the Olympic Torch on the Fylde coast, The Open Golf at Royal Lytham, a golden Olympic Games, Lytham Proms…….and looking at the weather forecast thousands of times! ”
Jane Oliver said she felt that the support of the local patrons was crucial in ensuring the success of the four plays as the damp summer forced late changes and extra expenses.
“The nine patrons from the town’s business community – The Lytham St. Annes Express, JGL Estates, Stringers Department Store, Booths Supermarkets, Pembertons Dairies, DMI Imaging, Strongs Fruit and Vegetables, Roland Robinson and Fentons and Martin Gunson’s Chartered Accountancy – gave the whole venture a firm financial foundation,” she said. “They helped give us confidence when the weather was at its worst.”
Julian believes also that the enthusiasm of dozens of businesses and shops, local amateur and dramatic societies, box office points and media outlets helped significantly in selling tickets in advance and, most importantly, encouraging last minute attendance when the sun came out for HMS Pinafore and The Twits.
“Everyone gave me 100 per cent support,” he said. “The professional staff at Lytham Hall were exemplary in their organisation and the volunteers from the Friends of Lytham Hall gave their time and energy to organise admission, car parking and refreshments with good humour and efficiency. It was a wonderful community effort sustained throughout the summer and I am delighted to be able to make the best ever donation to the Lytham Hall Appeal fund.”