The Dukes, LancasterOur previous articles about The Dukes,

Festive Film Season at The Dukes Christmas 2016

The Dukes Cinema is featuring classic Christmas films on the big screen during December 2016.

White Christmas(U); The Muppet Christmas Carol(U); It’s A Wonderful Life(U) and Die Hard(18) are all on the festive film menu at the Lancaster cinema.

white christmas

The classic musical film White Christmas kicks off the season on December 12 at 2pm. Although this screening is part of The Dukes A Life More Ordinary programme of events for people with memory problems, everyone is welcome. Interval entertainment is also provided. Tickets priced £4 include tea or coffee and a pastry. Carers go free.



Christmas would not be Christmas without the enchanting tale of The Nutcracker and a screening of the Bolshoi Ballet performance will be shown at 3pm on December 18, 2016.



For those who prefer festivities with a bit more dramatic edge then The Dukes is screening Die Hard on December 19, 2016, Bruce Willis plays a New York cop out to save his wife and other Christmas partygoers who are taken hostage in a hotel. 

muppet christmas

A more modern classic – The Muppets version of Dickens Christmas Carol(U) - hits the big screen on December 22 and 23. Join Kermitand the gang together with Michael Caine in this funny retelling of the traditional tale.


wonderful life

The first of two screenings of It’s A Wonderful Life(U) takes place on December 23, with the second screening the following day, December 24, 2016.

It’s A Wonderful Life tells the story of apprentice angel Clarence who aims to convince suicidal George Bailey how life would have been in his home town had he never lived.

For more information and to book tickets, phone The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit The Dukes website

Please note that bookings via the website have a £1 transaction fee.  

visual idThese classic films are just part of a busy festive season at The Dukes don't forget that there is also Pinocchio in The Round until January 7, 2017.




New Season at The Dukes

Looking forward to 2017, The Dukes will be marking the 30th anniversary of walkabout theatre and two thought-provoking homegrown drama to add sparkle to the new season here in Lancaster.


The Dukes' reputation for producing the UK's best outdoor walkabout theatre season was recognised this year (2016) with the UK Theatre Award for the Best Show for Children and Young People. In 2017, The Dukes celebrates 30 years of promenading in Williamson Park with an adaptation of Treasure Island that you can see from July 4 to August 12, 2017. Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale will be given a thrilling new twist by the award-winning team who produced the sell-out production of The Hobbit in 2016.

i was a wife

Launching The Dukes homegrown season on February 15, 2017 after its successful run in 2016, will be the return of I Was A Wife written and performed by 2015 UK Theatre Award-winning actor, Polly Lister.

This raw and comic journey through marriage is told with the help of characters Polly has portrayed along the way, including the witch she played in The Dukes 2014 outdoor production of Hansel & Gretel.

I Was A Wife, which was a result of The Dukes commitment to new writing, runs in Lancaster from February 15-22, 2017 and on March 3-4, 2017 before touring nationally.


From April 27-May 6, 2017 The Dukes will be visiting another Island – the one created by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona.

Joining forces once again with The Theatre Chipping Norton, The Dukes presents The Island, a great drama of defiance and determination drawing on stories from Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 27 years.


For more information and to book tickets, phone The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit The Dukes website

Please note that bookings via the website have a £1 transaction fee.  


visual idDon't forget that there is also Pinocchio in The Round until January 7, 2017.




Take The Right Direction At The Dukes

If you have ever thought about theatre directing then this may be your opportunity because The Dukes is offering the chance to learn about theatre directing this summer (2017) and participation is open to people from all walks of life.

SarahPunshon 640x427

The Dukes' new Artistic Director, Sarah Punshon will be one of the leaders, and it's exciting to note that she trained under the scheme at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. 

The Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) takes place at the Lancaster theatre from August 12, 2017 – and it’s free.

Sarah’s extensive freelance theatre experience includes directing new writing and contemporary classics and for television, she has directed episodes of Eastenders, Emmerdale, Shameless and Doctors.

Speaking earlier, Sarah said: “The RTYDS scheme changed my life. It’s great to be able to offer a chance for people here in the North West to learn about the craft of directing, with particular reference to The Dukes incredible outdoor show in Williamson Park – a unique directing challenge I’ll be facing myself next year!”

Also leading the course will be Alex Summers, The Dukes Associate Director and head of its Centre for Creative Learning, which is devoted to creative industry training, education and outreach work.

The course starts and ends with an intensive full Saturday session with eight Saturday afternoon sessions in between.

It begins during the run of Treasure Island in Williamson Park with the chance to see the show for free and then walk the route with awardwinning Director, Joe Sumsion and discuss the challenges of this unique production.

The course ends in October with an opportunity for the budding directors to work with Sarah to explore next year’s park show and how it might be staged, based on their new knowledge.

In between, they’ll explore the actor-director relationship, discover how directors collaborate with playwrights, designers and composers, and discuss the challenges of participatory theatre making, focussing on the creation of Blackout, The Dukes autumn production, including a ringside seat at the technical rehearsal.

Complimentary tickets to Treasure Island, Blackout and The Suitcase will be provided as part of the course.

The Dukes is keen to attract a diverse range of participants aged 18 plus but places are limited and the deadline for applications is July 20, 2017. For more information and to apply, visit (opens in a new window)


For more information and to book tickets, phone The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit The Dukes website (opens in a new window)

Please note that bookings via the website have a £1 transaction fee.  


treasure island idDon't forget that Treasure Island is the 'Play in the Park' for 2017.




The Dukes Brings Pinocchio To Life

Since 2012, The Dukes has been staging its festive show in The Round, bringing the audience as close as they can get to the charm and delight of familiar tales performed live.

2016 is no exception as the Lancaster theatre presents a new adaptation of Pinocchio from November 25, 2016 - January 7, 2017.

The renowned and awardwinning children’s writer, Christopher William Hill has adapted Carlo Collodi’s captivating and enduring popular tale to transform it into a treat for all the family with a cast of wonderful characters and crammed full of joy, music, puppets and songs.

Pinocchio is the story of a wooden puppet who magically springs to life and along with a smart-talking sidekick, sets off on a journey to become a real boy. But life is tough when you’re made of wood and your nose just won’t stop growing.

Director and Dukes Associate Artist, Louie Ingham said: “Pinocchio will be a fun and fast-paced show, taking the audience on a thrilling and memorable theatrical adventure ride while staying true to all the elements of the original story.”

Louie, who has directed many productions for children and young people, worked on National Theatre Connections this summer as well as directing the Young Company in The Dukes UK Theatre Awardwinning production of The Hobbit.

Playing Pinocchio will be Lucas Button, a recent graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, who first appeared in a Dukes Christmas show in 2005 as Tiny Tim when he was a member of its youth theatre.

Andy Serkis Praises The Dukes On Its 45th Anniversary

Regional theatres breathe life into a community says Andy Serkis as The Dukes in Lancaster reaches its 45th anniversary.

Andy, who has had an awardwinning and pioneering career as an actor on stage, in television and film, is now an Honorary Patron of The Dukes where it all began.

In an interview released to coincide with The Dukes 45th anniversary on November 18, 2016, Andy remembers his early days at Lancashire’s only professional building-based producing theatre.

While studying theatre design and movement at Lancaster University, Andy worked with The Dukes designers, helped paint sets and eventually appeared in a student production there.

When leaving university, he applied for a job at The Dukes.

“At that time, regional theatres were giving away two Equity cards a year and I was fortunate to be offered a place in the company,” said Andy.

“My first professional night at The Dukes in Privates on Parade was on the same day that I graduated from university!”

During his time at The Dukes, Andy appeared in 14 plays and one of his favourite roles was Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the very first Williamson Park show.

“Williamson Park is the most extraordinary wonderland for putting on a piece of theatre. I learnt a lot about acting for film actually in that experience – relating with a real environment rather than being behind a fourth wall on a stage.”

Andy was also inspired by Jonathan Petherbridge, The Dukes Artistic Director at that time.

“He treated theatre very much as a service to the community and the way he directed plays and operated the company meant that we were very connected to Lancaster and its people.

He instilled in me a way of thinking about acting which was about as far away from it being a vain occupation as is possible, in that drama has significant possibilities for change in society, however small.

This was a powerful force in my attitude to what acting can possibly do, and remains so to this day.”

Andy cites his time at The Dukes as truly inspiring and a highlight of his career.

He last visited the theatre about seven years ago with his children. “It was extraordinary – we walked onto the stage. It was a very emotional experience, especially being there with my kids.”

(click the images to enlarge)