Hall we could wish for... Dame Judi’s play hopes

Judi Dench as Mrs Fairfax in Jane Eyre
Judi Dench as Mrs Fairfax in Jane Eyre
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The undisputed Queen of the British stage is backing the forthcoming open air plays season at Lytham Hall.

Dame Judi Dench has sent her good wishes to the casts and organisers of the four-play season.

The season, which has The Gazette’s sister paper Lytham St Annes Express as one of its patrons, opens on Sunday, June 14 with Chapterhouse Theatre Company’s production of Jane Eyre and is followed by Illyria staging The Taming of the Shrew on July 5, Iolanthe on July 14 and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on August 23.

Dame Judi, who played Mrs Fairfax in the 2011 film version of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, is currently filming as Cecily, Duchess of York, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III in the BBC’s Hollow Crown series of Shakespeare’s history plays.

She said: “It is with great pleasure that I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the open air theatre season at Lytham Hall.

“I have very fond 
memories myself of directing open air productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Boys from 
Syracuse at the open air 
theatre in Regent’s Park in London.

“Any Shakespeare play and any outdoor production is a challenging experience – not least of which was coping with aeroplanes flying overhead every two minutes.

“The programme of four outdoor plays at Lytham Hall is an excellent initiative and I wish you all, actors and audiences alike, every success for the open air season.”

Dame Judi, 80, has won every honour the stage and screen can bestow.

Lytham season organiser Julian Wilde was delighted to receive the message of support through her personal 
assistant Sue Jennings,

He said: ““It’s very heartening to have the interest and support of Dame Judi Dench.

“We could not have asked for backing from a more distinguished international actress and her encouragement will help us to make a memorable start to our summer programme.”

Tickets are now on sale for the season, online from www.chapterhouse.org and www.illyria.uk.com as well as 
locally from Lytham Hall (01253) 736652 and Lowther Pavilion (01253) 794221 among others.