Open Air Theatre

The successful return of open air theatre has brought a welcome financial boost to Lytham Hall at a time when arts venues have been short of income.

Outdoor touring company Illyria drew full houses of 200 to each of their two performances of The Wind in the Willows and the event has resulted in a donation of £1300 to the restoration fund of the grade 1 listed Georgian building.

Illyria provided the Hall’s first live event since the lockdown, travelling to Lytham as part of a 27 venue nationwide tour which culminates in a week’s residency at Cornwall’s famous cliff top theatre at Minack

Julian Wilde, organiser of the open air theatre at Lytham Hall, is delighted that there was a healthy profit on the day.

“The income from tickets sales, together with the much-appreciated sponsorship of the Clifton Arms Hotel, was very heartening both for Illyria and for Lytham Hall. In addition the generosity of audiences in contributing to a special collection which raised over £400 was just wonderful.”

Carol Webb whose family own The Clifton Arms Hotel felt that the sponsorship had been very worthwhile.

“We were delighted to support the performances and to see so many local people out together enjoying the shows. I attended myself with my daughter and her family and we were royally entertained by Illyria's first-class cast.”

Paul Lomax, deputy manager at Lytham Hall, believes that it was a successful event in every way.

“We lost £250,000 in income during the lockdown, so the capacity attendances for The Wind in the Willows were encouraging as we look forward now to further events .

Julian Wilde and his team of volunteers worked hard to put on the event at short notice and showed that socially distanced seating in the open air is perfectly possible. This donation of £1300 is most welcome, the cherry on top of the cake. ”

Julian Wilde feels that this year’s successful play was significant for future organisational plans.

“It was interesting to find that almost everyone booked on line in advance and that no there were no posters, A boards, banners or flyers used to advertise the shows. Everything was online, using social media in particular.

At both the performances everyone was more than helpful in maintaining social distancing. The whole atmosphere was relaxed and our audiences could both see and hear extremely well. I think we learned some valuable lessons next summer. ”

In 2021 Illyria will be back at Lytham Hall with three shows in a five play summer season - Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and, as the family show in August, The Further Adventures of Dr. Dolittle.

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