Volunteer's proud record at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster

Since last year Sue Mantle from Thornton has been a member of the volunteering team at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 9:35 am

And she is very proud of a record she has achieved – attending every one of their promenade productions in Williamson Park since they started in 1987.

But she has one disappointment – being outbid at an auction for the house used in The Hobbit five years ago.

“I very much wanted it for my allotment,” said Sue, a Friend of The Dukes.

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Sue Mantle (front) with her niece Lisa and her husband Gerry with the house in The Hobbit, The Dukes promenade play in Williamson Park, Lancaster in 2016. The picture was taken by Sue's great nephew Alfie.

Out of 40-plus park plays she has seen, The Hobbit is her favourite because she shared it with her niece Lisa, Lisa's husband Gerry and her great nephew Alfie. She saw the play twice.

A Midsummer Night's Dream was the first play in the park, which she was attracted to watch because it was a new experience.

Then Sue got hooked.

“I can remember only one performance being cancelled because of the weather and we managed to go on another evening.

“I have been very wet and muddy just once. We have been very lucky,” said Sue.

After a break of two years since The Three Musketeers was repeated in 2018, she loved the current production of Grimm Tales, which ended its run on Sunday (August 22).

And her favourite moment from productions she has seen at the theatre in Moor Lane?

Treasure Island Christmas pantomime when the cast were shipwrecked in Morecambe Bay.

“The audience laughed for ages, yet the storyline was so simple but so clever.”

Another favourite production was Ladies That Bus, all about the 555 service from Lancaster to Keswick.

“I even watched it again on-line during lockdown,” said Sue.

She describes local school productions she has seen at The Dukes as “amazing”.

How did her great love of theatre arise?

“When I went to live in London when I was 20, it was the bright lights of the West End and a lot of longing to go, with very little money.

“I made up for it later.”

And which actors does Sue most admire?

“There are so many,” she said. “But I would see anything with Sarah Lancashire or Julie Hesmondhalgh.”

She also is a huge fan of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and she would like to meet Eddie Redmayne.

She admits to being a big screen fanatic.

She spends New Year's Eve at the cinema, getting home just in time to watch the fireworks in London on television.

Has Sue been on the stage herself?

“Only as an amateur tap dancer!” she confessed.