There’s never been an outdoor summer like it

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Lytham Hall led the way in what was a bumper summer for outdoor theatre.

Audience figures have revealed theatre fans flocked to see shows on the Fylde coast like never before.

A record 600 people flocked to see The Mikado at Lytham Hall in July, while an audience of 500 were at the same venue to see Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Austen’s Sense and Sensibility will kick off next year’s Lytham Hall season.

There were encouraging family audiences for five afternoon plays in the Lytham’s Lowther Rose Gardens in July and August. The new amphitheatre at Lytham’s Park View hosted a successful performance of Kes by a cast from UCLan and more can be expected next year.

At Lowther Gardens there was an accomplished performance of Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell in June, but it was poorly supported.

For a fourth consecutive year, Blackpool remained a black hole for outdoor theatre enthusiasts, without a single open air show.

But there’s no doubt Lytham Hall was the big success story and organiser Julian Wilde is already hoping to repeat the success next summer.

“We achieved a pleasing combination of advance booking, last minute sales and walk-ups,” said Wilde. “I think the hard work of all the helpers makes it a very friendly venue and the visiting companies love the atmosphere and the excellent acoustics.

“The superb weather for three of our shows was a huge help and my abiding memory of 2013 will be a capacity audience, full of wine, enjoying As You Like It half an hour after Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win.”

* Blackpool Symphony Orchestra present A Russian Afternoon on Sunday when they will perform works including Shostakovich’s popular Festive Overture.

They are being joined by upcoming young trumpeter Hannah Mackenzie. It is at Blackpool Sixth Form College at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £8 – call 01253 351020 for further details.