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Exciting year revealed for the Dukes Theatre

Funnyman: Top comedian Jason Manford heads the list of stars heading to Lancaster this year

Funnyman: Top comedian Jason Manford heads the list of stars heading to Lancaster this year

Lancaster Dukes Theatre offers a packed programme of entertainment for the coming year.

Lancaster Dukes Theatre offers a packed programme of entertainment for the coming year.

Its annual promenade production in the city’s Williamson Park returns – this year, it’s Robin Hood from July 5 to August 10.

The season starts with famous hangman Albert Pierrepoint as the subject of a co-production of Pierrepoint – The Hangman’s Tale from January 31 to February 23, telling how he combined his job as a Lancashire pub landlord, including at a hostlery near Preston, with being official executioner.

The season’s second production is Savage Children with two plays. Mirad, Boy From Bosnia (May 21-22) and Wild Girl (May 23-25) about children from different worlds, based on real historical events to question the notions of family, freedom and children’s rights.

Making their debuts in 2013 are nationally renowned Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory with a full cast production of Two Gentlemen of Verona from May 7-11; and premiere UK company Northern Ballet with bite-size child-friendly show Ugly Duckling on April 5. The Waving Cat of Japan, with sign language arts, puppets and traditional Japanese imagery, on May 25.

Northern Broadsides return on February 19-23 with Rutherford and Son directed by Jonathan Miller, an unflinching portrayal of an industrial Edwardian family starring Wendi Peters AKA Coronation Street’s Cilla Battersby Brown.

Comedy continues with Jason Manford’s sold-out show in May, Hardeep Singh Kohli (March 1); Zoe Lyons (March 20) and John Shuttleworth (March 22). Agony aunt Virginia Ironside is Growing Old Disgracefully on May 2 in one of two Listen

Up at The Dukes events, the other being record breaking British mountaineer, Kenton Cool on February 27.

And the best of the Edinburgh Fringe arrives on April 23-24 with The Trench, an award-winning new play set in World War One.

Youth theatre performances are an important strand of The Dukes new season. University of Cumbria students return with Lady Windermere’s Fan from January 16-19 and Equus from January 23-26. Wasted, by performance poet Kate Tempest on March 12 is followed on March 25 by Whole, about a group of Liverpool teenagers.

Also in March, The Dukes Senior Youth Theatre present We Lost Elijah for the 2013 National Theatre Connections Festival and the Lancaster grammar schools’ Return to the Forbidden Planet. The Dukes Young Actors and Young Company, who stormed the theatre with The Unsociables last spring, perform Hamlet from April 16-20.

Lancashire Youth Dance Festival arrives in May and Shattering Images Theatre Company for young adults with learning disabilities present Diamonds Aren’t Forever in July. The Dukes collaboration with Age UK continues with Mind Walking (March 27-28), an aerial performance of an emotional story of mature love.

Music night Wired In moves to The Round on March 11 and April 22. And N’DOdO, Iain Hunter’s revived Afro/Jazz/Rock group NO DODO arrive on March 16. Box office: 01524 598500 or www.dukes-lancaster.org

 

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