In an informal, upbeat early-evening launch, Dukes Director Joe Sumsion and new Producer Julie Brown tempted us all with snippets of what we could look forward to in Winter, Spring and Summer of 2009 - both touring and 'home grown' work. And we heard from young people from DT3, key people from Ludus and the Nuffield, the Director and Designer of Jamaica House (see below), and singers from Sabbat. The Dukes is growing in the diversity of its offerings ....
Sabbat (by Richard Shannon, directed by Amy Leach, and designed by Miriam Nabarro) is a dramatic new tale based on the famous Pendle witches. It is a powerful new play commissioned by The Dukes that attempts to unravel the mysteries behind the famous trials of the notorious Pendle Witches. Did Alice Nutter (herself unusual in being relatively wealthy) and the others really attend a witches' Sabbat on Good Friday, 1612? Or were these innocent Pendle folk used as scapegoats during a time of paranoia, superstition and persecution? Sabbat runs from 29th January – 21st February.
Jamaica House (by Paul Sirett, directed by Gwenda Hughes and designed by Alison Heffernan) is an emotional drama set on the twelfth floor of an empty tower block. Former resident Jean returns to the crumbling tower block Jamaica House for one last time but finds it hard to say goodbye to a building she has lived in for nearly thirty years. The second Dukes production of the season, it runs from 19th March – 11th April.
The July outdoor adventure in Williamson Park (opening July 2) is Jason and the Argonauts. In this story of love, honour and heroism, based on ancient Greek myths, Jason and his crew journey in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. They encounter countless obstacles in their quest: giants, perilous seas, vengeful gods and the bewitching song of the Sirens. We will travel with them around the magnificent lakes, dells and gorges, taking to the high seas, visiting Mount Olympus, the realm of the gods, and challenging the monstrous hydra in a sensational final battle.
A new ticket offer will also be launched, allowing customers to enjoy all three shows for the price of two. Holders will also get a Dukes discount card offering 25%off other events.
Alongside these Home Grown pieces, The Dukes will be playing host to national touring work including Queen Bee, a chilling new drama from The North East Theatre Consortium (8 and 9 May). Three women find themselves forced together in an isolated Northumberland house in this contemporary gothic ghost story.
Straight from a sell out show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, Top of the World present Paperweight on 21st May, an (almost) silent comedy of two men trapped in mindless office jobs whilst Queer Up North and multi-award-winning Starving Artists bring a new one-man show, Eat Me, to the venue (30th May).
For people who like their theatre a little more physical, Precarious present their astonishing boundary-pushing work The Factory on 25th April. On 2nd May, clowning, puppetry and performance are combined in Lost in the Wind by Lost Spectacles.
Two side-splitting comedy shows also feature, Who Writes this Crap? (17th January), based on the critically acclaimed Penguin paperback, and 1000 Years of German Humour (8th May) with award winning German Comedy Ambassador, Henning Wehn, in the show that took the Edinburgh Festival by storm.
A new version of Peter Pan from The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis and Visible Fictions will be showing on 30th April and 1st May. Featuring the work of world-renowned shadow puppetry artists, this production combines live action, shadow art and vibrant storytelling. And DT3 will play host to another great piece of theatre for young people when Loci Productions return with their acclaimed show, Mind the Gap, on 28th February.
For younger children, Monster Productions return with another magical journey, The Garden of Dreams (17th and 18th April). Also making a return visit after a recent sell-out performance is the hilarious and very well-known James Campbell (21st February), the world’s only stand-up comedian for children.
Music lovers will be spoilt for choice with the Dukes hosting local, regional and national talent. Singer-songwriter Charlie Winston will be appearing on 28th February, while popular Lancaster band Dose take to the stage on 7th March. DT3 supported label Barnbox return for a night of music on 24th April and the heady strains of jazz will be heard when Lancashire Sinfonietta perform on 9th May. Also in May, you can follow in the footsteps of fan Chris Evans and see the mirthful Lancashire Hotpots, with their comedic observations on 21st Century life.
The start of a new creative partnership between Ludus and The Dukes will be signalled on 23rd January when Ludus present the world premiere of ID:me, a new piece of dance theatre. And on the evening of 8th February, artist Sumit Sarkar will take control of The Dukes in a groundbreaking new event, Co-mission, featuring contemporary culture, creativity and curry!
The University of Cumbria return in January with two productions from the 3rd Year Drama students, Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall (14th – 17th January) and Colder Than Here by Laura Wade (21st – 24th January). From the international stage, live opera, classical music and ballet will be streamed by satellite direct from The Royal Opera House, London including Handel’s Messiah (5 April),Ondine (3 June) and La Traviata (30 June).
For more information or to book for any event in the autumn season, call Dukes box office on 01524 598500.
For more information/images/interviews please contact:
Maria Major, Press Officer,The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster LA1 1QET: 01524 598509
The new season ticket allows customers to see three shows for the price of two - Sabbat, Jamaica House and Jason and the Argonauts. Tickets are available on any performance including Saturdays and can be transferred free of charge (up to a week before). Customers also get a free discount card giving the holder 25% off other events, 10% off drinks at the bar and 50p off programmes.
The Dukes cinema also offers independent cinema. With one of the biggest screens in the North West and state of the art projection and sound facilities, there is a year-round programme of film, including foreign language, independent, blockbusters and family favourites.