22 June 2012

The 'White Rabbit' meets the 'Bard'
Speke Hall's
Outdoor Theatre Season set to entertain

Shakespeare, 'Alice through the Looking Glass'- it's the 'White Rabbit' and 'The Tempest' at this year's Outdoor Theatre Season at Speke Hall.

Theatre- lovers can take advantage of balmy summer evenings in the glorious setting of this wonderful Tudor building with a spot of Shakespeare, or the children's classic '
Alice through the Looking Glass'.  So grab friends and family, rugs and blankets - not forgetting to load up the picnic hamper - then just chill out and enjoy the waist-coated White Rabbit and the grinning Cheshire Cat, or one of the Bard's best-loved works.

Anne Inskip, Speke Hall's House Steward & Events' Manager says:
"Following the release earlier this year of Tim Burton's film of 'Alice in Wonderland' you can now enjoy the theatrical experience performed by Quantum Theatre. So from the enchanted atmosphere of
'The Tempest'  - to the antics of Alice and all the wonderful characters in 'Alice through the Looking Glass'- our programme of outdoor theatre promises to be time well spent and all in the most enchanting location of Speke Hall grounds."

The Tempest opens the season on 30 June -The Lord Chamberlain's Men arrive at Speke Hall, where the North Lawn is transformed into the enchanted world of 'The Tempest.' Watch as a magician's daughter, a shipwrecked prince, a wandering spirit and an orphaned outcast are all swept up in Prospero's revenge in Shakespeare's thrilling tale of romance and justice and retribution
16 July it's Alice Through the Looking Glass  - Follow Alice into a fantastical and confusing world of intrigue as she enters Wonderland once more. Watch as Alice attempts to make her way across a giant chess board to be crowned Queen in a tale of magical, nonsensical mystery. But beware of the Jabberwock! Delightfully staged by Quantum Theatre, this brand new adaptation by Michael Whitmore, faithfully charts the fabulous, wonderful and rather perplexing world created by the great Lewis Carroll - retaining the particularly British humour and quirkiness we've all come to hold dear in these classic tales - truly a show for all the family.

Reserved Ticket prices for all performances are: Adults 13, Child 11. Ticket prices on the door are: Adult 15 and Child 13.

The Tempest, the gates open at 6.30pm, with the performance starting at 7.30pm (last admission at 7.00pm) and for  'Alice through the Looking Glass', gates open at 6pm, with the performance starting at 7.00pm (last admission is at 6.30pm). Please bring your own picnic and low-backed seating. Performances last between 2 and 2.5 hrs.

For further information and to make a booking, please call 0151 427 7231


For further information/photo opportunities, please contact Anne Innskip at Speke Hall on 0151 427 7231

Press release

Fells Fix it for Blind Mountaineers
Blind Mountaineers find the repair work carried out on the upland paths, invaluable, during their visit to the Lake District. Repairs to upland footpaths are part of the Fix the Fells project

The Milton Mountaineers is a group of blind and partially sighted hill walkers and their friends, which was founded in 1969 by David Scott-Blackhall - a blind BBC presenter. David Scott-Blackhall broadcast an item about a climb of the highest mountain in Africa - Mt Kilimanjaro, by blind people and remarked that it would be great if blind people were able to climb Britain's highest mountain - Ben Nevis. The group was named after the Milton Hotel, where they first stayed during their climb of Ben Nevis
After the ascent of Ben Nevis, the group became a charity and has continued ever since, doing one trip a year to Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England in rotation.

Tim Duckmanton, Volunteer Coordinator for the Lake District National Park Authority said: "Volunteers and rangers have assisted the Milton Mountaineers several times in the past. The group visited us in August to climb up Grisedale Pike (700 metres/ 2290ft), Helvellyn (950m/3,118ft), Scafell Pike (978m / 3,210ft  and Skiddaw (931m/3,053ft). The group had a fantastic time and found the paths repaired under the Fix the Fells project, really helped them access the higher peaks. Stone pitching was particularly easy for them to to walk on, compared to the eroded paths."

Fix the Fells is a partnership that works together to prevent further erosion of upland paths, through work carried out on them by contactors, staff and a large volunteer force. The partnership is run by the Lake District National Park Authority, the National Trust and Natural England - and is further supported by Friends of the Lake District, The Tourism and Conservation Partnership and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Fix the Fells is a five-year programme, which needs to raise 3 million to pay for upland path repair. In addition to the financial support provided by partners, the project also relies upon donations made by the public. 2.5 million was raised under the previous project that successfully repaired 102 Lake District upland paths, with 74 still in need of desperate care.

Sighted volunteer guides, from the Lake District Volunteers Service, helped the Milton Mountaineers climb their mountains, with the use of careful guiding. David Carrington-Porter, Organiser for The Milton Mountaineers - and is also blind, said: "We were very ably supported by volunteers from the Lake District National Park Authority.Tim Duckmanton, the Volunteer Co-ordinator, put in a lot of work arranging mountain leaders and sighted guides for the blind walkers.

"This year the Milton Mountaineers were celebrating their 40th trip, so in addition to the planned ascents of Grisedale Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw, we also wanted to reach the top of Scafell Pike - England's highest Mountain, (978m / 3,210ft ), to celebrate our 40th anniversary in style. Scafell Pike is a challenging climb for blind people, not only because of the long climb, but particularly because it is very rocky -and at the top there is a boulder field, making it very difficult to balance your way across it, especially in wet conditions. That said, the improvements made to the paths by the Fix the Fells path teams, did a lot to reassure us. Blind walkers followed their sighted guides with a hand on their rucksack, when the terrain was uneven - but once the terrain became more stable, we were able to walk side-by-side, holding our guides elbow. Regretably, we were unable to complete the ascent of Scafell, due to poor weather conditions, but we appreciated the decision of our mountain leader, in considering our safety.  We had a good laugh when our guide added that in any case there wouldn't be good views on the summit because of the thick cloud cover!".

Ruth Kirk, Volunteer from the Lake District Volunteer Service and guide for both Helvellyn and the Scafell Pike trip said:"I enjoyed the experience of assisiting the Milton Mountaineers immensely. In fact it's been one of my best days out in the National Park -  really special. Other leaders from the Lake District Volunteers Service, were David Emery, (Grisedale Pike) and John Whittle (Skiddaw).

The trip was completed with a toast - a drink of sparkling wine, which one of the volunteers provided.

David Carrington-Porter's final comment was: "I'm sometimes asked why I climb mountains, if I can't see the views! It's not only about the views, it's about sensing the atmosphere of the mountains, listening to water gurgling in streams, feeling the wind on your face, fresh air and exercise, the sense of achievement and enjoying the company of like minded people, who act as our guides and describe "the views" to us. I would sincerely like to thank all the volunteers and the Fix the Fells path team, who made this year's trip such an enjoyable one"

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