Sunday, 16 May 2010


As summer approaches, it's the time of year when I go a bit mad on the internet  looking for days out and places of interest. One of my favourite summer pastimes is the annual evening of outdoor theatre at our local Lytham Hall.
Illyria Tour company put on a couple of shows each year in locations usually in prestigious and stunning backdrops ie. National Trust properties. 
Illyria are a company of professional actors who produce drama / Shakespeare to a really high standard and usually with a huge dollop of fun thrown in. It's not highbrow, just a really good and different way to spend an evening out. A couple of summers ago we saw Macbeth at Lytham and it was stunning. It was a barmy summer's evening and the audience brought bottles of wine, camp chairs and staked candle lanterns. It was a lovely atmosphere, made even better as dusk approached and the performance started. We were treated to a really good evening of Shakespeare brought to life by enthusiastic and polished actors. This year Illyria are performing Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice and James and the Giant Peach for the kids. I'm hoping to attend one performance at Lytham Hall and the other at Williamson Park in Lancaster which is another stunning backdrop. 
I suppose I'm a bit of an anorak around Shakespeare plays. I became hooked during our O levels when the Merchant of Venice was part of our English Literature studies. Whilst I joined in with the murmurings of my schoolmates bemoaning the inflicted boredom of yukky Shakespeare, I secretly loved it though would never admit it lest I be forever labelled a geek. I loved the language and the intricate plots. I became transfixed when school took us to the Grand Theatre in Blackpool where we were lucky enough to see Timothy West play Shylock and his wife in real life Prunella Scales play Portia. I still harbour an ambition to watch a play at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, but until then, I shall make do with the excellent Illyria company outdoors in the gardens of Lytham Hall with a glass of Prosecco in one hand, some food item in the other and a tartan blanket across my legs! 

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