Twistin’ in the Park

Oliver Twist.
Oliver Twist.

One of the highlights of Lancashire’s summer returns to Lancaster’s Williamson Park next week with the annual promenade theatre production from the city’s Dukes Theatre.

This year’s performance promises even more twists and turns on a traditional story since it’s a very Northern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

The thought of relocating Dickens’ story to a Northern park is intriguing. I doubt there will ever have been a version quite like this one and there’s a palpable air of excitement and anticipation

The open air setting of the park is set to be transformed for a production which runs from next Friday to August 15.

This year’s performance has been adapted by established theatre, television and radio writer Debbie Oates, who has written for Coronation Street since 2002, and whose other credits include The Mill and Primeval.

Manchester-based Debbie is an associate artist at The Dukes following successful adaptations of two Christmas shows for the theatre: Treasure Island in 2012 and A Christmas Carol in 2013.

Dukes artistic director Joe Sumsion says: “There are some stories which simply offer a delicious prospect for an outdoor walkabout production and Oliver Twist is one of them.

“The thought of relocating Dickens’ story to a Northern park is intriguing. I doubt there will ever have been a version quite like this one and there’s a palpable air of excitement and anticipation.”

The outdoor theatrical experience has gained a national reputation as the UK’s biggest outdoor walkabout theatre season.

Last year saw The Dukes reach the milestone of attracting 500,000 people to the park since shows began in 1987.

The cast will perform alongside a community company of young people from The Dukes who will play Fagin’s gang.

Oliver Twist is recommended for anyone aged five plus.

For a full schedule of performances or to buy tickets see dukes-lancaster.org/events/event/oliver-twist/

Box Office: 01524 598500.