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Theatre, dance and comedy a-plenty coming to The Dukes

John Freeman
New drama set on Morecambe Bay, a heart-warming musical play, and the 25th anniversary of its outdoor shows in Lancaster’s Williamson Park are highlights of a celebratory spring/summer season at The Dukes.

The new season boasts some famous names too including comedians Mark Thomas, Milton Jones and Tim Key; a busy music programme; a youth dance festival; and more acclaimed National Theatre productions beamed live by satellite into the Lancaster venue.

The Dukes homegrown drama season begins on 27th January 2011 with the premiere of Quicksand, a new play by Ulverston playwright Zosia Wand.

Telling an unconventional tale of love lost and found, Quicksand is a moving look at relationships, family secrets and expectations which runs until 12th February.

The Rise & Fall of Little Voice (24th March - 16th April) will have its first outing at The Dukes since its award-winning run in the West End last year.

This Lancashire tale of a shy girl and her obsessions with the great divas including Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland has been a winner on both stage and screen when it starred Jane Horrocks.

And from 3rd - 7th May, the Lancaster theatre welcomes back one of its former directors, Olivier Award-winning David Thacker, when The Dukes hosts Bolton Octagon’s production of The Price by Arthur Miller.

Summer 2011 will see The Dukes celebrate the 25th anniversary of its shows in Williamson Park.

Now the biggest outdoor walkabout theatre event in the UK, it attracts thousands of people to Lancaster each year. Merlin and The Legend of King Arthur will bring a magical touch to the anniversary run from July 8-August 13.

Music also plays a major role at The Dukes throughout the season.

Celebrate the Chinese New Year on 31st January with the Cantonese Opera Gala or, if you prefer your music closer to home, the county’s premier chamber orchestra -  Lancashire Sinfonietta -  will be performing new works for jazz quartet and orchestra on 30th April.

In his new show, Mouthtronica, acclaimed British beatboxer Shlomo presents a one-man musical mash-up on 19th February while The Dhol Foundation perform their magic mix of Indian Dhol-drumming, inspired by drum and bass, tabla, hip hop and bhangra on 10-11th May.

Groundbreaking Scottish mavericks Shooglenifty push the word traditional to its limits with their unique blend of dance vibes and roots music on 14th May, and The Dukes welcomes folk hero and raconteur Rory McLeod on 25th May.

Comedian Milton Jones
- at the Dukes on
16th March 2011
There’s plenty of laughs to be had during the season too.

Zoe Lyons goes Clownbusting on 23rd February;  Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Tim Key appears on 4th March followed by "the weird bloke with the shirts from Mock the Week," Milton Jones on 16th March. Mark Thomas appears on 20th April  with his brand new show Extreme Rambling: Walking the Wall.

The Dukes dedication to dance continues with Verve Dance (19th May) and the Youth Dance Festival (20-21st May).

And among other touring drama highlights are Daniel Kitson’s theatre show,  The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church, on 18th February; Unicorn Theatre's The Day the Waters Came (9-10th March) which centres on the aftermath of  Hurricane Katrina; and Box Clever's Boxed Romeo & Juliet, a bite-sized version of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy from 7-8th April.

• To book tickets for any of the new season events, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit