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Footlights takes on Daphne Du Maurier

John Freeman
The Grand will be dreaming of Manderlay all week as Lancaster Footlights presents Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca.

In the play, based on the novel first published in 1938 that made du Maurier one of the most popular writers of her time, Maxim de Winter marries a woman half his age only a year after the death of his first wife - the beautiful and accomplished Rebecca.

Maxim's naive young bride is overwhelmed by her new responsibilities and soon discovers that her predecessor still has a strange hold over everyone, especially the sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who despises her for taking the adored Rebecca's place.

Behind the beautiful gates of Manderley, the darkness of the past taints the present and threatens the future ...

As well as the novel, Rebecca Daphne du Maurier successfully adapted it into a play, first presented in 1940, starring Celia Johnson and Owen Nares as the De Winters and Margaret Rutherford as Mrs. Danvers. It was adapted into an Oscar winning film by Alfred Hitchcock (also in 1940) and several times on television.

This production of Rebecca is the latest work of Lancaster Footlights, a thriving amateur drama group which approaches its work very "professionally." They first started performing in the 1920's, and purchased the Grand Theatre in 1950 to save it from demolition. Ever since that time, the group has devoted its time and effort between theatrical productions, and the continuous work involved in running, maintaining and restoring an historic building. They currently produce five plays per season, including a traditional Christmas pantomime which is specifically aimed family enjoyment, in addition to one-act plays and a Youth Theatre production.

• Lancaster Footlights presents Rebecca at the Grand Theatre, Lancaster until Saturday 16th April 7.30 pm.  Tickets £8.50/£7.50. Box Office: 01524 64695 or Book Online. Web: