Behind the scenes of The Dukes play in the park

The Dukes artistic director, Sarah Punshon, at a Three Musketeers read through in the park earlier this spring.
The Dukes artistic director, Sarah Punshon, at a Three Musketeers read through in the park earlier this spring.

Behind the scenes

The Three Musketeers – The Dukes play in the park

It’s spring and preparations for The Dukes swashbuckling summer are in full swing.

The Three Musketeers is this year's Play in the Park by The Dukes.

The Three Musketeers is this year's Play in the Park by The Dukes.

Now in its 31st year, a new era dawns for the popular play in the park season as The Dukes Artistic Director, Sarah Punshon, (pictured right) takes the reins for the first time.

“The park show is a noble tradition and I’m looking forward to keeping it going,” said Sarah, only the second woman in The Dukes history to direct its walkabout production.

2018 might see Sarah’s directorial debut in Williamson Park but she does have plenty of experience in directing outdoors, mainly for television though she has also directed an outdoor version of Romeo & Juliet in York.

Living just 10 minutes away from Williamson Park, Sarah runs through it about three times a week and has found this a useful way of getting to know its many pathways along which audiences will walk for this year’s production of The Three Musketeers.

The Musketeers have swashbuckled their way through Williamson Park before – in 1996 – but this year’s version will certainly have a woman’s touch in more ways than one.

For not only is D’Artagnan female but also the fight directors and the writer.

The task of adapting Alexandre Dumas’s classic novel for a 21st Century audience has gone to Hattie Naylor, another Dukes newbie, who has previously been Olivier Award nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre.

Rehearsals begin later this month for the show’s community company who will perform alongside the professional cast of seven who arrive at the theatre on June 4.

The Three Musketeers, which is recommended for anyone aged 5 plus, opens on July 3 and runs until August 18. For tickets, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or www.dukes-lancaster.org.

Book before the end of April and receive £2 off.