What’s On in Lancashire and the Lake District during April

Running Wild at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool. Photo Johan Persson

Running Wild at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool. Photo Johan Persson - Credit: VISUAL IMPACT GmbH, P.O., 3800 I

Our guide to the best events in and around Lancashire during April


Until 1st

Searching for Doctor Branovic

The Hall Players present this play by David Tristam. Emma Tyler mourns the sudden and unexpected death of her husband. But all is not as it seems and, deep in the bowels of a nearby hospital, something stirs. Enter Detective Monroe, who soon finds himself in the middle of another mystery, which threatens to unhinge his sanity.

The Parish Hall, Fulwood, Preston, 01772 863801


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Beauty and the Beast

Regal Entertainments present their Easter pantomime. Get ready to go on an adventure and follow Belle as she falls in love with the most unexpected of princes.

St Helens Theatre Royal, 01744 756000


Running Wild

Michael Morpurgo’s novel, based on a true story, is brought to life in this award-winning production, complete with life-sized puppets, telling an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and living for the moment.

The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, 01253 290190


Granny Annie

Preston Drama Club present this comedy by Frank Vickery. In this behind the scenes peek at the world of amateur dramatics we see romance, petty jealousy and threats. But when the young lady playing the part of Annie and her understudy are struck down with measles, the group need to find a replacement quickly. Follow the adventures of possibly the worst amateur dramatic company ever as they prepare for the opening of their latest musical production – which promises to be the biggest theatrical disaster of all time.

Preston Playhouse, 01772 744771

Until 8th

The Perfect Murder

With crippling debts and a loveless 20 year marriage to Joan, Victor Smiley finally snaps and hatches a plot to get rid of his wife forever. Things don’t however go according to plan and Victor is about to get a nasty surprise.

Little Theatre, Southport, 01704 530521


The Amazing Bubble Man

Louis Pearl, the amazing bubble man, on tour with a unique show that explores the breathtaking dynamics of bubbles, combining comedy and artistry with audience participation and enough spellbinding bubble tricks to keep everyone mesmerised.

The Guild Hall, Preston, 01772 804444

Until 8th

The Commitments

Coronation Street legend Kevin Kennedy stars as Jimmy Da in this show, packed with more than 20 classic soul songs performed live on stage and which tells the tale of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young, working class music fan who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act.

The Palace Theatre, Manchester, 0844 971 3019

Until 8th


A new musical – a World War II love story which tells the story of Stu, a scared mid-western youngster who is called up in 1943. He becomes a photographer for Yank magazine, the journal ‘for and by the serviceman. The musical explores what it is to be a man and what it is to fall in love and struggle.

Hope Mill Theatre, Ancoats, www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk


Goldilocks & The Three Bears

Northern Ballet present this perfect opportunity for little ones to enjoy live ballet, music and theatre for the first time.

The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster, 01524 598500


Spring and Port Wine

Rafe Crompton is a strict father who struggles to control his rebellious children as they swing into the sixties. His wife, Daisy, uses all her wits to keep the family together but secrets are coming out of the woodwork fast and furious.

Oldham Coliseum, 0161 624 2829


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Bill Kenwright’s amazingly well received production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical.

The Charter Theatre, Preston, 01772 804444

Until 22nd

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Anne Bronte’s classic tale has been adapted for the stage. In 19th century Yorkshire a mysterious young widow Helen Graham and her son arrive at the desolate estate of Wildfell Hall. Isolating herself from the village, she soon becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation.

The Octagon Theatre, Bolton, 01204 520661

Until 22nd

William Wordsworth

A Theatre by the Lake and English Touring Theatre co-production. It’s spring 1812 and in the parlour of Grasmere Rectory amongst the piles of washing, smoking chimneys and children running riot, William Wordsworth writes…

Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, 017687 74411



Enchanting musical adaptation of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, with a huge heart, a medley of magic and a whole lot of wonder. It is an adventurous exploration of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic in our lives.

The Palace Theatre, Manchester, 0844 871 3019

24th-May 13th

How My Light Is Spent

Set in a small town in Wales, this play explores the relationship between Jimmy and Kitty and the joy of finding someone who might just really ‘see’ you.

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, 0161 833 9833


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

One of the Bard’s funniest and most popular plays has been adapted by Helen Jeffery and this timeless comedy promises to dazzle audiences with an unforgettable tale of love and adventure.

The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, 0844 888 4411

26th-May 6th

Capture the Castle

A new musical based on the novel by Dodie Smith. Set in the Bohemian England of the 1930s, Dodie Smith’s worldwide, bestselling classic is a warm and sharply funny coming-of-age story.

The Octagon Theatre, Bolton, 01204 520661

27th-May 6th

The Island

In South Africa it was forbidden to mention that The Island existed. It was a place where you put the people you wanted to forget. It was a place where people began to forget themselves. Two men, unlikely friends, stagger through days of pointless prison work, living for nights of memories and imagined, dreamlike joy. With just scraps from their cell, they prepare for a performance of Antigone in front of the prisoners and guards – an act of political defiance from people who have lost everything they have to lose. Just like Antigone herself.With gut-wrenching emotion and exquisite, stripped down simplicity, this great drama of defiance and determination draws on the stories that linger from Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 27 years.

The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster, 01524 598500

28th-May 6th


SDC present Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy. At a large townhouse outside London, Charley, a prominent government official, lies injured with a flesh wound after shooting himself and his wife is nowhere to be seen. His lawyer, Ken, must get the ‘story’ straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and miss-communications mount the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity.

Little Theatre, Southport, 01704 530521

Until April 29th

Bat Out Of Hell

Spectacular new musical – a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland.

The Opera House, Manchester, www.batoutofhellmusical.com



Celebration Through The Centuries

The Allegri Singers present this concert spanning five centuries of celebratory sacred music.

Holy Trinity Church, Brathay (and St James’ Church, Arnside on 2nd)


An Audience with Lesley Garrett

A delightful evening of song, reminiscences and chat from this beloved performer from a career that has spanned more than 30 years.

St George’s Hall, Liverpool, 0844 800 0410


Back to the 80s Live

Featuring 80s stars, Katrina from Katrina and the Wave, Paul Young, Sonia, Tight Fit, Nathan Moore of Brother Beyond, Hazell Dean and Kelly Wilde – all performing their biggest hits live on stage.

The Guild Hall, Preston, 01772 804444


John Harle and Steve Lodder with guest Jess Gillam

Featuring brand new works, this concert is a unique opportunity to hear music by some of the most influential composers of today, by the master of saxophone at the peak of his powers.

Coronation Hall, Ulverston, 01229 587140


Fleetwood Bac

The world’s first and allegedly best Fleetwod Mac tribute band, endorsed by Mick Fleetwood himself, faithfully recreate the band’s Rumours line-up.

The Atkinson, Southport, 01704 5333333


Country and Bluegrass Jamboree

Venues across Chatburn play host to the first Country and Bluegrass Music Jamboree in the area with several top groups performing foot-tapping, melodic rhythmns, including Union Central, The Grove Band and Britannia Blue Grass as part of the Ribble Valley Music Festival.

For more information call 01254 384893


The 100 Voices of Gospel

The internationally-renowned gospel choir present this concert which is above all a great show that combines singing, music and dance.

King George’s Hall, Blackburn, www.seetickets.com


Mediterranean Sounds

Clitheroe Concerts Society present this concert by Australian-Taiwanese pianist Belle Chen who will play composistions ranging from the lyrical melodies of France to the passionate rhythms of Andalucia and Catalonia in the first half and move east in the second half with sounds from the religious and serene Italy, homage to Balkan folklore and Turkish popular song.

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Sixth Form Centre, www.clitheroeconcerts.org



Easter Activity

Craft-based family activities using natural materials and inspired by Brantwood’s gardens.

Brantwood, Coniston, 015394 41396


Plant Hunters’ Fair

New plant hunters’ fair in aid of Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust. The plants are lovingly grown by specialist nurseries and these enthusiastic plants people are on hand to give honest, straightforward advice on choosing and growing the right plants for your garden.

Hoghton Tower, near Preston, www.planthuntersfairs.co.uk


Garstang Auto Jumbles

Car and bike autojumbles with outdoor and indoor pitches, well established since 1997.

Hamilton House Farm, Garstang, www.garstangsutojumbles.co.uk


Holker Plant Fair & Food Market

Flower Power Fairs bring together some of the very best northern plant specialists and growers for a fantastic spring fair. Accompanying the floral event will be a local food producers market sampling some of the finest artisanal produce the north west has to offer, from handmade breads and cakes to preserves and cheeses.

Holker Hall & Gardens, Cark-in-Cartmel, 015395 58328

22nd-May 1st

Ulverston WalkFest

The town of Ulverston is once more hosting a series of walks and activities over a ten day period. The programme has been carefully chosen so there are walks to appeal to all ages and abilities of between one mile and ten. Many walks will take in local and industrial history and give walkers an insight into the rich heritage of the area while others take advantage of the surrounding hills and Lakeland Fells. Each walk will be led by a volunteer local walk leader.


21st – 23rd April

Great British Food Festival at Stonyhurst College.

This fantastic food festival is back at Stonyhurst, with over 100 food stalls, Man V Food, live chef demos from Bake Off stars, Kids Cookery lessons, circus workshop and live music throughout the day, its the perfect place for a family foodie day out.

Don’t forget KIDS GO FREE ON FRIDAY. For tickets and info go to www.greatbritishfoodfestival.com


Fashion Show

Alexandra’s, Lakeland and Songbird Bridal of Keswick present this fashion show with tickets (£10) including cocktails and canapés.

The Parish Church of Keswick St John, Keswick, tickets available from the above shops

30th-May 1st

Lancaster Food and Drink Festival

More than 40 high quality local growers, producers, foodies and retailers, showcase their tasty goodies in marquees and gazebos and those who love their food will be treated to all manner of free samples, savoury and sweet. Among the artisan producers, there’s hot street food, live music and children’s activities too.

The Brewery Garden, Lancaster Leisure park, www.lfdf.co.uk

30th-May 1st

May Day Steamings

See 30 old stationary steam engines, some of which powered the cotton mills and woollen mills of the north of England. Some are the only of their kind to survive in the world and most will be running in steam during the event.

Bolton Steam Museum, 01204 846490


Until April 9th

Tom Mellor Exhibition

Exhibition including a selection of photographs and perspectives of the buildings Tom Mellor designed, such as his home, Churchwood in Lytham, the Senate Building, Liverpool University, halls of residence in other universities and St Bernadette’s Church in Lancaster. There will be a room with examples of his furniture and fabrics plus a selection of his paintings and murals from 1936 to 1985.

Lytham Heritage Centre, 01253 730787

11th-May 4th

Photographic Exhibition

Garstang Camera Club will be having an exhibition of their work, with free admission and refreshments available.

Garstang Arts Centre, 01995 606648

Until 22nd

Northern Grit

Exhibition by northern artists Penny Hunt and Debbie Yare who both draw inspiration from direct experience of landscape, incorporating elements of the landscape into their work.

Florence Arts Centre, near Egremont, www.florenceartscentre.com

Until 24th

The Power of the Hills: John Ruskin and Mountains

No single feature of the earth excited more feeling in Ruskin than the hills. No single aspect of nature inspired his brush more consistently or more beautifully.

Brantwood, Coniston, 015394 41396

Until April 29th

Contemplating a Legacy - Works in Print by Julia M. Swarbrick

This free exhibition by artist Julia M. Swarbrick showcases work produced during her seven month Residency at Blackburn Museum funded by Art Council England.

Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery, 01254 667130

Until May 1st

Behind the Wall

Exhibition revealing the hidden history of an award-winning Lancaster printing factory, Standfast & Barracks. The featured artworks includes Ghosts in the Machine, a textile exhibit by Michael Brennand-Wood, one of the most innovative international artists in his field and beautifully crafted panels exploring pattern, time, structure and history created by renowned contemporary textile artist Caroline Bartlett.

Lancaster City Museum, www.miradorarts.co.uk

Until May 1st

Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style

Major exhibition exploring how fashion survived and even flourished under the strict rules of rationing and how despite the restrictions, austerity did not put an end to creative design or fashionable trends on the British home front.

IWM North, Manchester, www.iwm.org.uk



Art on the Run

Combining a joint love of the arts, woodlands and exercising outdoors, this is a ridiculous run like no other – a 5K dash through the most beautiful landscape, encountering surprising and fantastical large-scale art installations…expect the unexpected to help you on your way.

LIVIA Forest, Prestwich, www.artontherun.org.uk

1st-May 1st

O.K. the Musical

Visitors to Tate Liverpool will have the unique opportunity to witness the entire production of a musical unfold live in the gallery over the space of four weeks, culminating in three special performances.

Tate Liverpool, 0151 702 7400


Nell Gwynn

1660 Drury Lane. Charles II has cast off London’s drab, puritanical past with a love of all things loud, French and sexy. A young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges for sixpence in London’s burgeoning West End theatre scene. Llittle does she know who is in the audience one fateful night.

The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, 01253 743339


The Banff Mountain Film Festival

Three evenings of exciting adventure films. Viewers can expect incredible cinematography, epic scenery, mind-blowing journeys and some hair-raising moments in the last wild corners of the planet.

Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, www.banff-uk.com