WHAT have a postage stamp, an international website, a bicentenary celebration and a stage premiere got in common?
Struggling? Ok, I’ll tell you. The first play of the 2013 outdoor theatre season at Lytham Hall
Lincoln-based Chapterhouse Theatre Company will be at Lytham Hall to present Pride and Prejudice on Friday June 14.
It’s 200 years since the publication of Jane Austen’s most famous and popular novel (published on January 28, 1813, during the reign of George III) and the anniversary has led to an explosion of interest in a book which Austen herself called ‘my own darling child’.
The Royal Mail has just issued a special set of six commemorative postage stamps, each featuring one of Jane Austen’s novels, with Pride and Prejudice featuring on the new 60p stamp for a first class letter.
The Lytham Hall event has already been included on the list of celebration events of the Jane Austen Society, which has 160 members in its branch in the north of England.
A special international website, created to mark the bicentenary of the novel, includes the Chapterhouse performance in Lytham and the same play is set to run for four weeks at London’s famous open air theatre in Regent’s Park in June and July.
Chapterhouse’s tour co-ordinator Gill Brummitt feels that ever since Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy famously emerged dripping from the lake in the 1995 TV series (sending female pulses everywhere racing), Pride and Prejudice has been one of the most popular classics.
“Venues have been queuing up to stage our show this coming summer,” she said. “Lytham Hall is one of our favourite venues, ideal for an open air performance.
“The shelter from the parkland and the absence of traffic is superb and the cast will really be looking forward to having their opening night in front of what is always a very receptive audience.” Julian Wilde, organiser of the Lytham Hall season, is delighted the Lytham Hall date will be the opening night of the Chapterhouse tour, which will take the cast to 60 outdoor venues all over the country.
“It’s a real coup to have the premiere at Lytham Hall,” said Mr Wilde. “Laura Turner’s adaptations for the stage of several of Austen’s novels have been widely praised and I am expecting a large attendance. We can’t promise Colin Firth in person, but we do hope to have a special message from him in the programme.”
Tickets for the open air shows will go on sale on April 22 with Illyria presenting the other three productions - As You Like It on Sunday July 7, The Mikado on Tuesday July 16 and Babe the Sheep Pig on Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon August 25.