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Love's Labour: Lancaster Shakespeare Festival

Chris Satori

The Dukes is playing a lead role in Lancaster’s first Season of Shakespeare which opens today. Shakespeare is England's best known playwriter and if you have not seen any of his plays it is well worth a go.  Drama, film, talks, workshops and an exhibition will take place during February and March.

The season launches at The Dukes cinema with a screening of Coriolanus (15), directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes from February 17-19.

At the Dukes From February 21-25, The Dukes welcome back Northern Broadsides who have chosen Shakespeare’s mischievous and romantic comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost to kick off their 20th anniversary year. Barrie Rutter directs a charismatic cast of 17 multi-talented Northern actors in this fast-paced battle of the sexes.

Painting the Tempest, an exhibition of startling works by acclaimed artist Alan O’Cain runs from February 20-March 11. He will answer questions on the project as part of the free exhibition preview on February 20.

The Dukes is also hosting talks and workshops during the season. An Introduction to Love’s Labour’s Lost takes place on February 22 and there’s a practical drama workshop on  Shakespeare and Love on February 23.  Shakespeare Bites Back is on February 26 when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s chairman and director of education defend Shakespeare’s authorship of his works.

At Lancaster Castle, from Tuesday 28 February - Saturday 24 March 2012, Demi-Paradise Productions present an indoor promenade production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' set in the rural England of the 1890’s. It is performed promenade style in Lancaster castle’s historic law courts and Hadrian’s Tower,  adding the neighbouring medieval Priory Church to the indoor stages and backdrops.

A screening of A Comedy of Errors starring Lenny Henry live from the National Theatre takes place at the Dukes on March 1. Tickets are sold out.

Taking on Shakespeare’s most famous love story – Romeo and Juliet – and giving it a 21st Century setting, will be Lancaster’s two grammar schools from March 7-10.

And the cinema will screen Throne of Blood (PG), a classic re-telling of Macbeth from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa on March 12.

March 16 and 17 see Demi-Paradise Productions present an original monologue written and directed by Lancaster’s Sue McCormick and performed by Amy Rhiannon Worth. Isabella: Measure for Measure Act 6 is an imagining of what happened to the novice nun who is left in an unresolved position at the end of Measure for Measure.

For more details of all aspects of Lancaster’s Season of Shakespeare, visit

See our events listings for details of all events listed above.