The Dukes, Lancaster, has a sparkling season of drama, comedy, music and dance lined up for its autumn/winter programme this year. The jewels in the crown of the forthcoming season will be their home produced Christmas show – Treasure Island – and the weeklong Afrovibes Festival in October. Here’s a round up of what’s to come…
Treasure Island, the classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson, is given a modern twist by Coronation Street scriptwriter Debbie Oates for its run from 23rd November- 5th January. A young Morecambe girl – Jem – is a 21st Century Jim Hawkins leaving her boring home to spend her Christmas seeking adventures on the high seas in a show where the audience will be even closer to the action than ever before.
Visitors to The Dukes will be transported to another far away land from 1st - 6th October when Afrovibes, a festival of the very best contemporary theatre, dance, music, film and spoken word from Southern Africa comes to town. The café bar will be transformed in to the Township Café serving authentic African food and drink and hosting a range of festival fringe events complementing the top quality entertainment in the Rake and the Round.
Another highlight of October will be the return of Northern Broadsides with A Government Inspector (9th - 13th October), a humorous tale of misdeeds, misadventure and mistaken identity set within a small Pennine town’s local authority.
Drama remains central to the theatre's programme this season from solo shows such as Miss Havisham’s Expectations (26th September) which celebrates Dickens bicentenary, and An Instinct For Kindness (24th October), the highly acclaimed show about assisted suicide; to the Shakespeare Schools Festival (5th November) which involves hundreds of young people from local schools.
There’s comic relief aplenty too with a comedy season which kicks off on 21st September with Frisky and Mannish and includes appearances by Jo Caulfield (28th September); Tim Key (23rd October); and Mark Thomas (28th) with his new show, Bravo Figaro; Daniel Sloss (30th November) and Josie Long (2nd December).
Music heralds the start of the autumn/winter season this coming Saturday (1st September) when Liverpool-based Dead Belgian play the songs of Jacques Brel in their own playful and inventive way with support from Lancaster’s own Ottersgear. Other memorable musical moments will be provided by James Yorkston (14th September); Trio Libero (22nd September) and the ever-popular Wired In sessions on 17th and 19th September . The Dukes café-bar will also get your weekend off to a great start this Autumn with free live music performed from 6.00pm every Friday.
For dance fans, the season offers Agnes & Walter: A Little Love Story (25th October), inspired by The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which set the Edinburgh Festival Fringe alight.
As always, Festive fun is guaranteed on 14th-15th December when The Dukes almost-famous Christmas Cabaret returns, this time on the big stage, but still starring Slightly Fat Features who’ve built up a cult following in Lancaster with their glittering variety spectaculars.
• To book tickets for any of the new season events, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org for full details and lisintgs.