Storm of interest ahead of Tempest outdoors at Lytham Hall

Lytham Hall deputy manager Paul Lomax is relishing a bumper 10th anniversary season of outdoor plays
Lytham Hall deputy manager Paul Lomax is relishing a bumper 10th anniversary season of outdoor plays

Tickets are being eagerly snapped up ahead of the second play in the Lytham Hall 10th anniversary open air theatre season.

The Illyria company will bring Oliver Gray's production of Shakespeare's The Tempest to the Hall grounds on Sunday July 7 - and season organiser Julian Wilde reckons a full house could be on the cards, with around half of the 500 available places already sold.

“We are way ahead at this stage of the bookings for last July's Merchant of Venice which was a sellout," he said.

"Illyria have built up a loyal and enthusiastic following for their Shakespeare productions at Lytham Hall over the past 10 years and I am especially delighted that David Sayers who played Shylock last summer is again among the cast.”

The Tempest will follow an encouraging if damp start to the season on Sunday, June 16 when the Chapterhouse Theatre Company attracted an audience of 275 to the Hall, including parties from five Fylde Women's Institute groups, despite a week of rainy weather in the run up to the performance

Lytham Hall's deputy manager Paul Lomax, himself heavily involved in stage matters as producer of Fylde Coast Players' drama Celebration this month, felt that Chapterhouse's young cast acquitted themselves well on the opening night of their national tour.

“It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying picnics and the Guardian Concert Band in beautiful sunshine during the afternoon and so disappointing that the rain arrived just in time for the play," said Paul.

"I thought the cast showed gritty determination and you would not have known it was their opening night.

"The audience really revelled in a humorous stage adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, full of eccentric characters.”

Ahead of the Tempest starting at 6pm, Lytham Community Choir, under the baton of Graham Warrington, will entertain the audience from 5 pm and Fylde mayor Angela Jacques and mayoress, her granddaughter Charlotte, will be in attendance.

The season includes three further plays. Illyria will be back with Frankenstein on Saturday, August 17, while on Sunday, August 25, the company stages Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. The day before that, comedian Steve Royle will stage the first-ever open-air performance of Dan Leno, a Royal Jester which tells of the life and death of a Victorian music hall superstar.

Tickets and details from Lytham Hall on (01253) 736552 or at www.lythamhall.org.uk, Lowther Pavilion on (01253) 794221 or at www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk a numbner of other local outlets or www.illyria.co.uk