A RECORD attendance fully justified a change of venue for the first outdoor play of the season, scheduled for Lytham Hall.
While the rain poured down outside, more than 250 theatre-goers enjoyed a fine performance of Jane Austen’s Emma by Chapterhouse Theatre Company, in the main hall of King Edward and Queen Mary School.
The change of location, made early in the week as a gloomy weather forecast correctly predicted an evening of rain and wind, proved no deterrent to those who had already bought tickets.
In addition, more than £400 worth of tickets were sold at the door.
The audience also enjoyed a surprise display before the play by Regency Rejigged, a Lancashire dance group who specialise in the music of the period.
Julian Wilde, organiser of the outdoor theatre season which has the Express as one its patrons, felt the dry and warm location was a pleasure for audience and cast alike.
“The attendance was the best ever for the opening play of the season.
“I could tell that the decision to move indoors was a good one when picnickers started to arrive even before the doors opened two hours in advance of the show.
“Everyone at the school deserves our thanks for accommodating us so well at such short notice and there was excellent support from the volunteers from the Friends of Lytham Hall too.”
Clara Edmonds who played the title role of Emma believed that this was the outstanding performance and the most responsive audience of their 25-date tour so far.
“This was our first visit to Lytham and what a welcome we received,” she said. “The acoustics and classical lines of the hall suited us perfectly.”
The Lytham Hall season will continue on Tuesday, July 3, when the Illyria company present Oliver Gray’s production of Shakespeare’s Henry V.
Locally-born and educated James Dangerfield will play the title role made famous on stage and film by Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Kenneth Branagh.