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This is not a normal year to be a fresher! Even though a night out at the Sugarhouse is probably off the cards for Michaelmas term, there is no need to panic. Lancaster is a thriving northern hub of arts and culture. Despite being a relatively small city, Lancaster is packed with diverse theatres, cinemas, and museums that deserve your support during these uncertain times. Although not an exhaustive list, here are a few venues that will make you feel like an artsy Lancastrian!
The Lancaster Grand – This classic theatre is a staple of arts and culture in Lancaster. Having been built in 1782, the Lancaster Grand boasts gorgeous architecture, helping to create a classy atmosphere at every show. Although 2020 has been lacklustre, their 2021 line-up is shaping up as demonstrated on their active Facebook page. Also, if you want to be active in the arts scene in Lancaster, they run an amateur theatre group called ‘Footlights’. For students, membership is just £10. Whether you are an actor, set designer, or passive attendee, you must add the Lancaster Grand to your list of hot spots!
The Dukes – As an independent theatre and cinema, the Dukes offers a unique cultural experience that cannot be replicated at many other venues in the north-west. In showing independent movies, there is almost too much to choose from, especially if you are a film geek! Their theatre showings are equally fantastic in celebrating local, national, and global talent. As if that wasn’t enough, the tickets are irresistibly cheap; at full price, a cinema ticket is only £6.50! With free membership for 16-25-year-olds, this price is further reduced to £4.50! Paid membership options are also available for those whose student budget stretches far enough. This small but impactful venue is well worth supporting.
Lancaster Arts – This university-based arts service is a great cultural resource for those of you living on campus this academic year. At the best of times, public transport can be an inconvenience, and now more than ever, you are likely trying to avoid the buses as much as possible! Lancaster Arts works across campus, running events in the Nuffield Theatre, the Great Hall, and the Peter Scott Gallery. These events are diverse, ranging from interactive creative workshops to acrobatics and dance. Its convenient location makes it an ideal place to volunteer and get involved in the Lancaster community. As a part of their ‘Making Frames’ project, they reached out to those living on campus during the lockdown, asking them to creatively share their experiences. Lancaster Arts continues to support students – let’s make sure we support them back!
Williamson Park – Covid-19 has forced us to realise that creativity isn’t confined to galleries, theatres, or studios – it can be found everywhere, especially in the great outdoors. Therefore, for any aspiring photographer, writer, or artist, a walk around Williamson Park is the ultimate inspiration invigorating activity. The Ashton Memorial is a stunning focal point of the city skyline and the café is the perfect escape from the academic campus atmosphere. You aren’t a true Lancaster student until you have a photo of the Ashton Memorial on your Instagram! It’s an unspoken rule…
These venues need your support. Support does not have to be financial; it can come in the form of volunteering, contributing your work, or spreading awareness of their events on social media. Although their offerings are restricted, there is still plenty of arty goodness to enjoy this year at Lancaster!