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A full house of 500, revelled in glorious weather and a superb performance of The Merchant of Venice by Illyria in the second open air play of the 2018 season at Lytham Hall. The capacity audience, the first ever for a Shakespeare play, were all in full picnic mode on a beautiful windless afternoon and greatly appreciated the singing of the Lytham Community Choir, under the baton of Graham Warrington, before the play. £500 was raised for Brian House and St. Luke’s Leprosy Hospital by means of a charity raffle, with two tickets for Il Divo at the Lytham Festival, generously donated by Peter Taylor, as the top prize.

The Mayor of the Fylde, Councillor Peter Collins, accompanied by the Mayoress his wife Caroline, was in attendance, hosted for the evening by Ailsa and Andy Pemberton from Pemberton’s Farm Shop and Dairy, one of the 24 local Patrons supporting this summer’s outdoor season of five plays. The 2018 season is endorsed by New York Actress Maya Hawke, daughter of Hollywood starts Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, who wrote in the programme “It is with much pleasure that I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the open air theatre season at Lytham Hall The expanded and varied programme of five outdoor plays, four of them from Illyria, is an excellent initiative and I wish you all, actors and audiences alike, every success for the open air season.” The season continues with The Hound of the Baskervilles on Saturday 18 August at 7.30 and on Sunday 19 August with The Pirates of Penzance – both also expected to be sell-outs.

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