The cast of Cranford, the opening play of the Lytham Hall outdoor season on Sunday 16 June, has been announced.

Chapterhouse Theatre Company’s ensemble will be led by Rachael Cummins in the role of Miss Matty Jenkyns, the character around whom a series of small-town lives and loves is woven.

Rachael will be making her Chapterhouse debut in the adaptation of Mancunian Elizabeth Gaskell’s most acclaimed novel by the award-winning Laura Turner. The production will have its opening night at Lytham Hall.

A graduate of Northampton University she has appeared recently in productions of Cinderella, The 39 Steps and Dancing at Lughnasa and is looking forward to the challenge of a role made famous in the BBC TV series by Dame Judi Dench.

Aberdeen-born Natasha Stiven will feature as Mary Smith, a youthful newcomer to Cranford, with Jenny Deering as the gossipy Miss Pole, Bethan Barnard as Jessie Brown and Paul Valentine as the impoverished Captain Brown. Rory Moncaster, Charlie Frances and Kate Coverley will make up the cast of eight.

Four weeks of rehearsals will take place at Chapterhouse’s Lincoln base before the cast come to Lytham as part of their nationwide summer tour which encompasses 49 performances of Cranford and of Wuthering Heights in just 78 days.

Julian Wilde, organiser of the outdoor season which this year is supported by 23 Parons from the local business community, feels that the young actors chosen by Chapterhouse are ideal for a play which is being eagerly anticipated by local theatregoers.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Chapterhouse for the first play of the season. Elizabeth Gaskell published her book in 1853 and was very unusual for her day in creating a novel in which the four principal characters are women. She based the story on her own experiences in Knutsford and the audience can expect plenty of humour and of gentle social comment.

A number of local Women’s Institute groups from around the Fylde will be in attendance and I am sure the cast will be keen to impress right at the start of their national tour.”

Tickets on line from and locally from Lytham Hall, Lowther Pavilion, Plackitt and Booth, Storytellers Inc, Stringers Homelife and Bennetts Bakery

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