New season: Westacre

Westacre River Studios and Summer Theatre couldn't kick off this year's summer season in a more appropriate way. Alan Ayckbourn's celebrated boating comedy Way Upstream, running on May 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31 and June 1 and 2 at 7.

Westacre River Studios and Summer Theatre couldn't kick off this year's summer season in a more appropriate way. Alan Ayckbourn's celebrated boating comedy Way Upstream, running on May 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31 and June 1 and 2 at 7.30pm, concerns four friends who spend a week cruising up the River Orb through the delightful English countryside.

What could me more agreeable? Unfortunately, things don't go quite as smoothly as Keith, self-appointed skipper, has anticipated. His crew is revolting and when a seemingly charismatic figure hitches a ride upstream things are taken way beyond his control. Way Upstream had a successful run at the National Theatre and typifies Ayckbourn's reputation for humour laced with a darker thread. And this new production in the Summer theatre features a real boat! Tickets £12/£10.

Opera goes hi-tech when Suffolk Opera's Bizet's opera Carmen hits the stage on June 8 and 9 at 7.30pm (tickets £15). This new production promises to “roar into an evening of compelling entertainment”. Sung in English and fully staged, the story of opera's most notorious femme fatale comes with the latest developments in music technology to provide a full orchestral accompaniment.

There's another chance to see last year's production of The Lion in Winter by James Goldman on June 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 at 7.30pm. This historical drama centres on the distinctly dysfunctional Angevin family - Henry, Eleanor, Richard, Geoffrey and John.


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Historical characters and contemporary politics collide in this play that fizzes with wit, wisecracks, drama and suspense. And you don't have to have a degree in history to enjoy it. Tickets £12/£10.

The course of true love seldom runs smooth and never more so than in Shakespeare's best-loved play. This new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (running July 18-21, 25, 26, 27, 28 and August 1-4, tickets £12/£10) has all you might expect: frustrated lovers, furious parents, mischievous spirits, warring ghosts, would-be-actors, colour, music, dance and spectacle.

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An exotic plant called Audrey II with a craving for flesh and blood. It can only mean one thing - The Little Shop of Horrors. Westacre Young People's Theatre brings you the story of down and out floral assistant Seymour who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers this bizarre plant who grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, r&b-singing carnivore offering Seymour fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite.

But as Audrey ll's demands increase, all that Seymour holds dear is threatened as the plant's sinister agenda for global domination is revealed…

Concessionary tickets for all theatre shows are £6.

There's music at Westacre on June 15 when rock and blues combine with of fun, energy and edginess when the Cleaving Heevages are in concert. On this occasion, Mrs Cleavage and Miss Vixen are joined by Saxual Favours plus Support. There is no reserved seating at the concert to allow space for dancing. Tickets £12.

Trad jazz is on the menu when the Jazz Picnic is served up by the River Nar amid the ruins of Westacre Priory. Bring your picnic and all the family to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the company of the Dixie Jazz Bandits on July 1 and the Nene Valley Jazz Men on July 29. (Noon to 3pm, £6.)

Prepare to dance the night away on August 24 at 8pm when the Blues Tubes are back at Westacre for another evening of blue, soul and rock'n'roll. Tickets are £12 and, once again, there's no reserved seating to allow space for dancing.

As well as theatre and music there are various workshops running throughout the summer. Box office: 01760 755800 for more details of these and the other events. email: livespace@westacreriverstudios.co.uk visit www.westacreriverstudios.co.uk

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