Things get Grimm in the park
Follow the breadcrumbs to Williamson Park this summer and you’ll encounter a host of fairytale folk.
Hansel & Gretel And More Tales From The Forest is The Dukes walkabout theatre for 2014, and preparations are already under way for a season which has attracted almost 500,000 people since it began in 1987.
Anyone who’s visited the park recently will notice work already going on in The Gorge, an exciting woodland location popular with audiences, which The Dukes will be returning to after a break of a few years.
The Dukes Director, Joe Sumsion, will once again be directing the show and he’s just received the first draft of the script which has been written by Zosia Wand who studied creative writing at Lancaster University, achieving an MA with distinction in 1999.
It’s the first time Zosia, who lives in Ulverston, has written a play to be performed outdoors but she has seen success at The Dukes before with her Morecambe Bay love story, Quicksand, in 2011.
Zosia has been mentored by Coronation Street scriptwriter, Debbie Oates, who wrote The Dukes popular Christmas productions of A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island.
Joe said: “Hansel & Gretel is perfect summertime fun for all the family and as it’s a story of the woods, Williamson Park is the ideal setting.
“As for the ‘More Tales’, we’ll meet some great characters along the way: a vegetarian wolf still tempted by children with red riding hoods, Rumpulstiltskin and his golden thread, even a good fairy who’s managed to lose her Sleeping Beauty.”
Seven actors will play a total of 13 characters and among the cast will be some faces seen before at park shows and other Dukes productions. Their names will be revealed in the near future.
Thousands of actors apply to The Dukes to get some outdoor walkabout theatre experience under their belt.
Past park shows have helped develop the careers of Andy Serkis who made his name on the big screen playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings; Cherylee Houston who plays Izzy Armstrong in
Coronation Street, and Andy Wear who’s appeared as the Rev Jude Watson in Emmerdale.
Another former park show actor, Kieran Buckeridge, who played Merlin in the 25th anniversary production of Merlin & The Legend of King Arthur, will also be returning to
The Dukes fold this summer but this time as composer of original songs for the production.
*Over the next few months, The Dukes will be keeping Guardian readers informed of all the preparations for the park show. Hansel & Gretel And More Tales From The Forest opens on July 4 and runs until August 16.
For tickets, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or www.dukes-lancaster.org.
Book before May 31 and save £2 per ticket.