Cultural Venues of Lancaster

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Lancaster is full of cultural venues to bright up your weekend or provide an alternative night out. For anyone new to Lancaster we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit whether you like the theatre, history or music to see what’s coming up this year.

THE DUKES

A cultural institute in Lancaster. With both a theatre, cinema and now a new creative space for budding artists it is a hub of creativity. Additionally, with the new 16-25 membership, it makes it easier to entice younger people in with discounted prices and a range of shows. This autumn they have the John Godber Company returning with ‘Gym and Tonic’ a comical and gritty new play written by John Godber. The play follows a married couple using the relaxation of the spa to fix their failing marriage.

The Dukes are also presenting a new piece that has been developed at ARC Stockton called ‘Alex and Eliza’ which is about the 1947 partitioning of India and Pakistan and what this looks like 40 years later and the legacy that has endured as a result. LUNG Theatre in association with Leeds Playhouse is also coming to Lancaster with ‘Trojan Horse’ which has proved to be quite a popular show. The story follows the real-life stories of Muslim teachers and governors who were accused of plotting extremism in Birmingham schools.

Trojan Horse was a local story that hit the national press, accusing ‘hardline’ Muslim teachers and governors of plotting extremism in Birmingham schools. It’s adapted from the real-life testimonies of those at the heart of the UK.

Government’s inquiry, critically acclaimed theatre company LUNG investigates what happened. Developed initially with Leeds Playhouse, Trojan Horse is the story of a community torn apart by racial division, ‘British values’ and the culture of Prevent.

Finally, the Welsh Ballet is coming back with a production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The Christmas production this year will be Cinderella which is a traditional telling with a modern twist as it takes the story of Cinderella but places it in the 1950s era.

THE STOREY INSTITUTE

The Storey, located near Lancaster Castle – another great cultural venue in Lancaster and worth exploring for anyone interested in history – is a building that has been repurposed to serve the needs of all creative industries. Central to Lancaster’s artistic, technical and scientific innovation, it has also played host to an array of literary performances, workshops and art exhibitions. Coming up in the Autumn is the Lancaster Music Festival Hub. From the 10th-14th October, The Storey will be 1 of 30 venues around Lancaster getting involved in the music festival. Around Lancaster, there will be 250 acts, more than 400 performances as well as street music and food and drink stalls.

LANCASTER GRAND THEATRE

Lancaster Grand Theatre, located in the centre of Lancaster near Market Square, is also hosting a range of shows this year. Their shows cater to everyone’s taste from comedy, dance, dramas and musicals. Coming up in October, the Russian National Ballet is returning to Lancaster with their sell-out performance of ‘The Nutcracker.’ The original Christmas story is based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King written by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It tells the story of Marie, a sad little girl, whose godfather, Drosselmeier, gives her a Nutcracker doll as a present on Christmas Eve. In her lively imagination, it turns into a prince and the magic starts. Come November, a new musical production of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ will grace the stage, presented by Lancaster Red Rose AODS, Kenneth Grahame’s wild tale about the thrill-seeking, lovable menace Mr Toad comes to life. In a brand-new West End musical with a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composers and lyricists George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

Throughout the year, Lancaster Grand Theatre also arranges theatre tours every month for those interested in the history of the Lancaster Grand Theatre. Which includes it’s opening in 1782 to a fire that nearly destroyed it completely in 1908 to the present day and everything in between.

LANCASTER ARTS

Lancaster Arts is a Lancaster University organisation which includes the Nuffield Theatre, The Peter Scott Gallery and Lancaster Concerts Series. Coming up in Autumn is Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra. Chetham is the country’s largest specialist musical school, and the performance will be preceded by Tchaikovsky’s only violin concerto, the folk-inspired solo performed by Yixuan Ren, winner of Chetham’s 2019 Concerto Auditions; and Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphoses. The orchestra will take place in The Great Hall on the 17th of October at 7:30 pm. Also coming up in October is a performance by comedian Amy Vreeke at The Nuffield Theatre. With her autobiographical piece entitled, ‘The Year My Vagina Tried to Kill Me’ Amy explores social taboos, illness and the Gilmore Girls with a gift for storytelling and comedic flare. Finally, come November the English Touring Opera will be returning with a performance of The Silver Lake. Performed at The Great Hall, this piece is about those who are left behind from poor relations to police officers and those starving and trying to deal with hunger.

LIGHT UP LANCASTER

Light Up Lancaster is the annual fireworks festival held in the town centre. Imaginative local artists combine with internationally renowned artists each year to create ingenious light art and memorable performances across the city. The festival takes place across several locations around the city from Lancaster Castle to hidden gems in the secret squares and historic buildings. This year’s Light Up Lancaster will be held on the 1st and 2nd November. The free festival includes a series of artworks including impressive light features, workshops hosted by the Dukes Theatre and The Storey and of course, a Lancaster Fireworks Spectacular to add a colourful finale to the end of the festival.

These are only a handful of the venues and events hosted in Lancaster, but this gives you a flavour of the cultural scene that Lancaster has to offer, whether you are a new Fresher or a student wanting to explore more of this beautiful city, now you’ve got your to-do list!

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