Across Preston and Lancashire is a vast amount of entertainment, from horror to hilarity!

Lancashire Encounter returns to Preston city centre from tomorrow until October 2 with music, theatre and exhibitions, plus new venues and commissions offering fun for all.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:45 pm
The Woman in Black will be showing in Blackpool

The iconic Preston-based Dick, Kerr Ladies brought about a 50-year ban on women’s football. But their pioneering footwork will be reflected in performances by About Time Dance Company. The premiere of Quite Unfit for Females will take place outdoors in the Flag Market at 2pm and 5pm this Saturday September 18.

There will be a further performance and school workshop at the National Football Museum in Manchester in October.

Preston-born Jenny Reeves, About Time’s artistic director, has trained a cast of five alongside a football coach to ensure movements mirror those of the game.

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Established in 1917 as a charitable football team to raise money for soldiers during World War One, Dick, Kerr Ladies were named after the munitions factory where they worked.

Their first match at Deepdale attracted 10,000 fans and raised £600, the equivalent of £50,000 today. By 1921 they were so popular they played more than 60 games in a year while still working full-time and a total of almost 900,000 people watched their matches.

By December 1921, the Football Association famously declared the beautiful game to be “quite unsuitable for women” and banned ladies’ football. In fact the defiant Dick,Kerr team continued to play until 1965.

Their determination led to the formation of the Women’s Football Association in 1969, the lifting of the ban in 71, and in 97, the development of present-day women’s football by the FA.

About Time was founded by Jenny in Lancaster in 2016 and works with artists and communities to explore the heritage and local history of the North of England.

She trained at London Contemporary Dance School and Trinity Laban and works professionally as a dancer alongside running About Time. She also works part-time at Uclan.

Details: https://www.lancsencounter.co.uk

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Lancaster actress Christine Mackie finally brings her semi-autobiographical play Best Girl ‘home’ to the city’s Dukes Theatre next week.

Corrie star Christine devised the work around losing her veteran father to suicide – and the central role will be played by her daughter Lois.

Christine explains: “I wrote the piece for her. It is based on my life experience as a kid but updated to present-day Manchester.”

It’s a love story set at the intersection of two domestic dramas. When Annie falls for Jim she also unearths a secret, literally from the attic, that leads her to confront her own family’s demons. It’s a one-woman tour-de-force which received rave reviews during the 2019 Edinburgh fringe festival. runs from September 23-25 at 7.30 pm.

Also at the Dukes Theatre, super heroes, jungle animals and even mighty bugs take over this autumn in a packed programme of children’s entertainment. On tomorrow, the invincible Captain Cauliflower and faithful companion Marvin set off on an unforgettable adventure, filled with extreme silliness and unquestionable danger ideal for ages three to eight.

Swinging by in October is Tarzanna; a playful aerial theatre show for all the family followed by the timeless classic: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as this childhood favourite jumps off the page and comes to life.

Details: https://dukeslancaster.org

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Lancaster Arts starts its season of live arts events next week continuing the theme of Water.

Voice of the Whale on September 23 is a new piece from Manchester Collective who come to Lancaster for the first time. This is followed by the renowned Brodsky Quartet on September 28. The concert programme moves to the Lancaster Priory on December 2 as Lancaster Arts welcome the Echo Vocal Ensemble for Already Gone.

There’s live dance on November 4 with Company Carpi: When You Light a Candle, You Also Cast a Shadow a new dance work for gallery spaces with a trio of dancers and a string quintet.

The university’s Nuffield Theatre has a range of contrasting performances including a new sound installation, The Wind as it Rushes through the Turbine, on October 23; New Art Club’s latest dance, theatre and comedy show Cupid’s Revenge on October 26 and The Vicked with stand-up comedian Tez Ilyas on November 17.

Details: lancasterarts.org

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Blackpool Grand Theatre turns the lights down low next week for a return of the acclaimed West End show, The Woman in Black.

The popular horror play runs from September 20 – 25 and is a theatrical masterclass in building tension, plot twists and keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.

The performance is suitable for over-12s and all ticket holders will be entered into a prize draw to win a signed copy of Susan Hill’s novel. The stage adaptation features Antony Eden as ‘the actor’ while Robert Goodale is Arthur Kipps, a lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family by the spectre of a Woman in Black.

Details: www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk

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Comedian Suzi Ruffell brings her new show – Dance Like Everyone’s Watching – to the Library Theatre in Darwen tomorrow night.

Suzi made a name for herself turning tragedy and anxiety into big laughs.

The working-class comedian of her generation, she has had five sell-out runs at Edinburgh Festival and is best known for her appearances on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, The Jonathan Ross Show, and several other TV appearances.

A regular on Radio 4 including The News Quiz and The Now Show, Ruffell also co-hosts hit podcast Like Minded Friends with Tom Allen.

Details: https://darwenlibrarytheatre.com

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The Lowry arts centre in Salford celebrates the return of live events next week with an autumn/winter season featuring more than 100 different performances and events spanning exhibitions, spoken word, drama, comedy, circus and dance.

Notable drama taking to the stage this season includes The Ballad of Maria Marten (September 23-25), a retelling of Suffolk’s real-life murder mystery.

Details: https://thelowry.com

And Stuart Slade’s Bruntwood-winning dark comedy Glee & Me is currently enjoying its world premiere at the Royal Exchange in Manchester and runs until October 30.

Details are available at the website https://www.royalexchange.co.uk