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Fylde Coast open air theatre fans are in for five star performances at Lytham Hall this coming summer.

The ninth season of outdoor performances at the Hall will see five plays instead of four and, in a further innovation, Illyria’ productions of The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Pirates of Penzance will feature on consecutive weekend evenings on 18 and 19 August, both presented by Illyria.

Organiser Julian Wilde feels that 2018 is the right time to expand a venture which began with just three plays and five Patrons from the local business community in 2010.

“I am a strong believer in the mantra of Sir Alex Ferguson who believed that the time to sign top players was when you had just won the Premiership title.

After the two plays from Illyria last August which drew the biggest attendance at any outdoor venue in the country, I think this the moment to build on the appetite and enthusiasm for open air theatre in the area. I am especially looking forward to the “double-header” weekend.

Chapterhouse Theatre Company will launch the 2018 season on Sunday 17 June at 6.00 pm. The company will present Richard Main’s production of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, adapted for the stage by Laura Turner.

Illyria will return to Lytham Hall after three very successful shows last summer on Sunday 8 July at 6.00 pm as artistic director Oliver Gray stages his new production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

To complete the season there’s a family spectacular as Illyria are back on the afternoon of Bank Holiday Sunday 26 August at 4.00 pm with a title which will confirmed shortly.

Julian Wilde is delighted with the variety of the 2018 season.

“I am excited that the balance in next summer’s programme is exceptionally strong, with five diverse and appealing plays. In response to many requests we have included a Shakespeare play this year, again chosen weekend dates for all the performances and kept the family show on the Bank Holiday Sunday in late August.

I am confident that Lytham Hall will again be amongst the very best attended venues in the country for outdoor theatre and, if this expansion goes well, it will become a regular feature.”

Further details of ticket availability, prices and sales points for all five shows are expected in early March.

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