Gollum star becomes Lancaster Theatre’s new patron

Andy Serkis.
Andy Serkis.

An actor who achieved worldwide fame portraying Gollum on the big screen is to be an Honorary Patron of Lancaster’s Dukes theatre where he began his career.

Andy Serkis has taken on this role just as The Dukes presents its own outdoor walkabout version of The Hobbit in Williamson Park.

“I am delighted to become an Honorary Patron of The Dukes where I started to learn my craft,” said Andy.

“I performed here in 14 plays on the trot, appearing in a wide variety of plays and I remember my time in Lancaster with great fondness.”

Among the productions Andy appeared in was The Dukes very first outdoor walkabout play – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – in 1987.

The Dukes Artistic Director, Joe Sumsion said: “We’re excited that Andy has agreed to be an Honorary Patron of The Dukes and the timing couldn’t be better as we look forward to a record breaking season with The Hobbit – a story with which Andy has such a strong connection.

“The Dukes will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of our walkabout productions next summer so it’s great that Andy, who appeared in the very first one, is now our Honorary Patron.”

Andy last visited The Dukes about seven years ago when he brought his children to look around the theatre which played such an important part in his life.

Andy is currently directing a feature film so is unable to return to Lancaster this summer but he is looking forward to being an ambassador for the theatre.

Andy studied visual arts at Lancaster University in the 1980s and while there, he became heavily involved in the theatre studies department and decided to become an actor.

After leaving The Dukes, Andy had a busy stage career across the country and in London. In 1999, he was offered the role of Gollum in the film trilogy of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga and he received many accolades for his motion capture performance. Other films in which Andy has appeared include King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

As Honorary Patron of The Dukes, which is a registered charity, Andy joins Sarah Lancashire, Cherylee Houston and Christine Mackie in supporting Lancashire’s only building based professional producing theatre.