A Twist in the tale...

Theatre’s coming season a mix of experiment and tradition, with a little Dickens for good measure
Popular comedian Henning WehnPopular comedian Henning Wehn
Popular comedian Henning Wehn

The Dukes theatre in Lancaster is giving audiences the chance to be involved in the development of new shows for its spring/summer season.

The venue will ‘Kick Start’ new ideas and dramas including a modern day romance set at Carnforth Station written by Zosia Wand, who adapted Hansel & Gretel for The Dukes last summer, and a blistering account of love turned sour by Polly Lister who played the Witch in the same park show.

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Readings of both plays in April will be open to the public, who will be invited to give feedback. With this help, The Dukes hopes the writers will take their work to the next level and the plays will receive a full-scale production in the future, as all ticket money will be invested in the Kick Start process.

There’ll also be a new Twist on The Dukes ever popular walkabout theatre season in Williamson Park from July 3-August 15.

Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, will be adapted by Coronation Street writer Debbie Oates, who returns to The Dukes after two successful festive shows, last year’s A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island in 2012.

Other dramatic highlights of the new season are a week’s run of the classic Lancashire tale – Hindle Wakes(March 24-28) – a Bolton Octagon production directed by former Dukes director, David Thacker; and Romeo and Juliet performed in The Round by the acclaimed Shakespeare At The Tobacco Factory from May 19-23.

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Dancing their way back to The Dukes on April 1 will be Northern Ballet with Elves And The Shoemaker, one of two children’s shows this spring together with Chicken Licken on February 21.

And another dance treat is Beauty Of The Beast(May 13) which sees Company Chameleon make their Dukes debut in a new, funny yet moving look at the many faces of man, performed by an all male cast.

A top comedy season is also lined-up with Henning Wehn, above, making a welcome return on May 17 together with Lucy Porter (April 17); Alun Cochrane(February 26); Andrew Lawrence(April 30) and Lancaster’s very own Kriss Foster And Friend who appear in an Edinburgh Fringe Double Bill together with Rob Auton on February 28.

Ever popular comedy band, The Lancashire Hotpots, play The Dukes again on June 6 while The Poozies provide another musical offering on March 20.

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Music and drama combine in a one-off performance of The Muddy Choir on February 2 which tells the story of three young boys serving in World War One and the humanising power of music.

Meanwhile, The Dukes own young theatre companies will present various productions including Your Country Called And It Wants You Back(April 22-26), an experimental new play investigating migration, emigration and immigration through the eyes of young people – and first time voters – just days before the General Election.

To book tickets for any of the new season events, call The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org