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Annual outdoor play in Lancaster pulls 10,000 people despite wet weather

Around the World in 80 Days, starring Sam Jones as Phileas Fogg, pulled the crowds to Williamson Park this summer

The annual 'Play in the Park' in Lancaster has come to an end after delighting a total audience of 10,000 people during a wet July and August.

'Around the World in 80 Days' has been hailed as a success by organisers the Dukes after it finished its run at Williamson Park on Sunday.

Actors put on more than 30 evening performances of the show, starting on July 21, and not even the bad weather - including the sixth wettest July on record - put off the crowds.

The play starred Sam Jones in the lead role in the adaptation of the classic Jules Verne tale of Phileas Fogg trying to travel the globe in 80 days to win a bet.

The show also starred Heather Phoenix, Angelo Paragoso, Aleeza Humranwala, Sibylla Meienberg and Darcy Kim. It was directed by Sarah Punshon and written by Andrew Pollard.

This year the Dukes also worked with 10 schools from Lancashire and West Cumbria, as 100 young people joined in art workshops to create their own hand-decorated hot air balloon inspired by a country that each child would love to visit.

The balloons were then displayed in the Dukes' front of house and box office to showcase the countries of the world.

“It’s been an amazing year for the park show and the Dukes and despite the difficulties with the weather, we’ve been able to do amazing things," said Jay Walton, Head Of Marketing at the Lancaster theatre.

"We started by creating a promo video that saw us place a hot air balloon within Williamson Park and fly it next to the memorial, which caused a buzz on social media, we then celebrated food from the world with our first ever food festival, worked with schools across the district and beyond in arts workshops, and worked with Beyond Radio on our first ever live-from show as they followed us around the park on opening night.

"And we had 10,000 people join us for an epic whirlwind adventure in Williamson Park. I’m looking forward to what we’ll be doing next year!"

The Dukes also held its own Food Festival, with over 800 tickets being booked as the festival celebrated both international cuisines and the diversity of communities within both Lancaster and Lancashire. 

Although the Dukes park show has ended, their popular Sunset Screenings outdoor cinema in Williamson Park is returning this September. Running from September 1 to 10, they will screen popular movies such as The Greatest Showman, Mamma Mia, Pretty Woman and this year's summer smash hit Barbie in The Dell at the park.

Tickets can be purchased from the Dukes' website or from the box office 01524 598500. 

Read more: Beyond Radio to host special broadcast on opening night of Around the World in 80 Days - Beyond Radio

INTERVIEW: Around the World in 80 Days will be one of the biggest Lancaster park shows ever - Beyond Radio

INTERVIEW: Lancaster Play in the Park team talk Around the World in 80 Days, hot air balloons and Star Wars - Beyond Radio


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