Westacre Theatre opens the doors for the summer season

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Westacre Theatre has launched its summer season and there is a packed programme awaiting theatre-lovers of all ages with plenty of shows, events and workshops in store.

The summer months will see the theatre welcome a collection of performances by touring and in-house companies alongside several holiday workshops for budding dramatic talents and the popular summer Jazz Picnic at Gayton Hall.

Andy Naylor, artistic director of Westacre Theatre, said “We are all excited about running our first full summer season with all our new spaces open and ready to use, unlike last summer where we were operating in the middle of a building site. We have tried to create a programme of theatre productions, events and workshops this year that has something for everyone.”

The entertainment kicks off tonight with exclusive performances of The Retreat from Moscow by Livespace Theatre Company as they tour with special permission from the author.

Andy added: “We are delighted to have secured permission, from author William Nicholson, to stage this compelling, moving and witty play from the author of Shadowlands and the screenplay of Gladiator and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

This three-hander is an extraordinarily powerful play full of wry humour, pathos and tension surrounding the disintegration of a marriage, as viewed by its only son. Performances are on June 6, 13-14 and 20-21 at 7.30pm, tickets cost £16.

On July 13, after the success of last year’s event the annual Jazz Picnic will return to Gayton Hall where DixieMix will provide live music, tickets are £10 each. From 12–3pm, take this wonderful opportunity to relax and spend the afternoon in the beautiful setting of Gayton Hall.

In July and August, Not About Heroes, by Stephen MacDonald, will be staged to mark the centenary of this evocative play, which gives a moving portrait of the friendship of two Great War poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Performances on July 31, August 1-2 and 7-9 at 7.30pm with tickets at £16.

Andy said: “Our Bursary Award scheme is still going strong with a record number of undergraduates applying this year to spend the summer working with us. Not About Heroes and Sweet Charity will feature many of our Bursary students, either on or off stage, so look out for them.”

For the final production, Westacre Theatre will welcome back the directorial team of Matt and Sadie Grist, who come from London every summer to direct a musical. This year they are taking on the Tony Award winning smash hit musical Sweet Charity.

Performances of this fun, vibrant and exciting musical comedy are on August 15-16, 20-23, 27-30 at 7.30pm with tickets at £16.

Camilla added: “This year audiences will be able to enjoy the grounds of Westacre Theatre to their fullest extent with the tradition of picnicking before the show being positively encouraged. If the weather is on your side, why not come down early and enjoy a leisurely picnic before wandering into the studio. Bring your own picnic but the bar will be open.”

For full information about the plays, events and workshops available for youngsters during the school holidays, call the box office on 01760 755800 or go to www.westacretheatre.com