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A Sunday afternoon picnic in the park is the order of the day for open air theatre enthusiasts as Illyria bring the second play of the outdoor season to the Lytham Hall next Sunday July 5 at 6.00 pm.

Gates opening for picnics at 4.00 and an early evening start at 6.00 mean that ticket sales have been booming for The Taming of the Shrew, one of Shakespeare’s most waspish and controversial comedies.

The roles of Petruchio and Kate have attracted some of the biggest stars of stage and screen, most famously Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as being the basis for the Cole Porter musical Kiss me Kate.

Illyria will use a versatile cast of just five to bring Oliver Gray’s production to Lytham Hall for ninth date of a challenging 45 venue tour which has already seen shows in Aberdeen, Sussex and the Wirral.

Alastair Chisholm, one of Illyria’s most experienced performers, is excited to be returning to one of his favourite venues.

“The casts at Illyria rate Lytham Hall very highly and I personally simply love the parkland setting with its wonderful acoustics and the always receptive audience. Our tour has started well and we are all aiming to put on one of our very best performances,” he said.

Jane Eyre, the first show of a four play season which has the Lytham St. Annes Express Express as one its business Patrons, brought in over 500 people and organiser Julian Wilde is expecting another enthusiastic crowd on Sunday.

“The Shakespeare plays by Illyria at Lytham Hall always draw very many positive comments. Macbeth last summer was extremely powerful. Our audiences especially like the doubling-up of characters by the actors which all adds to the humour. The Shakespeare audience in Lytham was especially responsive last July and I am really looking forward this return visit by Illyria ,” he said.

There is free parking in Lytham Hall grounds close to the arena for a show which will finish around 8.30pm. Those attending are asked to bring their own low-backed seating and suitably warm clothing.

Tickets at £13, with concessions at £10 and £6.50, are on sale on line from Illyria’s own website at and locally from Lytham Hall phone 01253 736652: Plackitt and Booth, Booksellers, Lytham 796958: Lowther Pavilion 794221: Stringers Homelife and Main Store, 740700: Bennetts Bakers, Ansdell 736318: Storytellers Inc., St. Annes 781690: Silverdell Books, Kirkham 01772 683444


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