The Dukes Theatre Lancaster recognised in House of Commons for their contribution to art and culture

The Dukes Theatre Lancaster have been presented with a parliamentary early day motion recognising their contributions in art & culture by the House of Commons to celebrate their 50th birthday year.

By Michelle Blade
Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:24 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:26 pm
Staff team, board members and volunteers in Dukes' The Round Theatre celebrating their 50th anniversary. Picture by Jess Turton.
Staff team, board members and volunteers in Dukes' The Round Theatre celebrating their 50th anniversary. Picture by Jess Turton.

In thanks for the receipt of this acknowledgement The Dukes said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this recognition and celebration from The

House of Commons, of our 50th Birthday Year. A special thank you to Cat Smith MP, for the recommendation of this special recognition which highlights wonderful moments in The Dukes history.

"We would like to extend our thanks to all of our Dukes Friends, members and volunteers who have supported us over the last 50 years as well as our funders Lancaster City Council Arts Council England and Lancaster University The Dukes has always and will continue to present, create and highlight wonderful art & culture within our region, bringing the best in theatre and cinema to our

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community.

"We continue our 50th celebration with our Spring Season a programme packed with imaginative storytelling, gripping drama, heart-warming family shows, fantastic film, and cracking comedy.

"We look forward to welcoming you into Spring 2022 with some wonderful live entertainment so you too can celebrate this wonderful milestone.”

The Dukes were nominated for the recognition by local Labour MP Cat Smith who sharing the news on her social media said; “Happy 50th birthday to The Dukes, it was a pleasure to be able to present them with a parliamentary early day motion recognising their contributions. Here is to another 50 years! Support local theatre.”

The Dukes returned last year after a turbulent 18months navigating through the pandemic, but were overwhelmed by audience support which marked the start of a year long celebration of their 50th anniversary.

After a turbulent 18months for everyone, audiences came back in force; selling the annual play in the park show Grimm Tales, filling up The Rake, Moor Space and Round theatres for stunning live entertainment and queuing down the street for live comedy.

“It was truly joyous to have audiences back in our seats.” (Jay Walton, marketing manager)

This Spring 2022 season there is even more on offer, with a programme jam-packed with imaginative storytelling, gripping drama, heart-warming family shows, fantastic film, and cracking comedy.

Karen O’Neil The Dukes chief executive said: “It is so wonderful to continue celebrating the Dukes 50th Birthday!! This is a milestone year for the Dukes and we are so pleased to be sharing it with our team, volunteers, audiences, artists and community.

"The Dukes has been at the heart of Lancaster since 1971 as both an theatre and independent cinema and has achieved so much since then. We are so proud of the Dukes’ legacy and thank everyone who has been part of the journey so far.

"We are so excited for the future and we look forward to creating more memories, creative projects and continuing to be part of what make

Lancaster a great place to visit or call home. Thank you to our core funders Arts council England and Lancaster City Council and to all our supporters, partners, funders, audiences and creative professionals. Here’s to the next 50 years!!”

Since opening the doors in 1971, The Dukes has been committed to placing arts and culture at the heart of the Lancashire and Lancaster City region.

As Lancashire’s only producing theatre, over the years The Dukes has welcomed the likes of Dame Harriet Walter, Gloria Grahame, Andy Serkis and most recently, Sir Ian McKellen.

The continuation of the 50th celebration Spring season includes many fantastic pieces of live performance including the return of Northern Broadsides with their production of As You Like It and KIN by Lancaster writer Christine Mackie.

The Dukes will be welcoming companies from across the UK with great family productions such as STAN and Party. Innovative theatre company Thick Skin will visit with their piece Blood Harmony and Maxine’s Peake’s Beryl will arrive in June, while new artists will continue the expansion of the Moor Space programme with pioneering work including Far Gone and The Long Way Home, bringing new voices to the stage.

Over the last six months The Dukes have also supported up and coming Lancashire talent to respond to the theme of 50 in their 50th commission programme and you will be able to watch these new pieces of work live in April.

Finally, to end the 50th Anniversary The Dukes play in the park will return with a brand new Park Show production told within the stunning forests of Williamson Park - a truly exciting event for the whole family!

You can download The Dukes season brochure from the website here