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Theatre and University Join Cultural Forces

Thursday, 16th October 2014

A Cultural Partnership between The Dukes and Lancaster University has been officially launched.

The three year partnership aims to develop arts, education and learning in Lancaster and to enrich the city’s cultural life.

It was officially launched at The Dukes Centre for Creative Learning where several of the partnership schemes have already taken place with young people from Lancaster district, particularly those living in areas of social economic deprivation.

Other activities, entitled the MAKE Project, are due to take place in the coming year. They include a coast to coast cycle ride; a film-making project with young Gypsy, Roma, Traveller women, mums and their grandmothers; a new theatre production with young people from The Dukes and international students; a Three Peaks walking challenge; and the development of Redbananallama, a social group for people with disabilities.

The University will help to enhance and promote the pioneering work delivered by The Dukes including the Journeying Together programme aimed at people with dementia and Shattering Images theatre company for people with learning needs.

Lancaster University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Andrew Atherton said: “We look forward to working with The Dukes to place the arts at the centre of the student experience at Lancaster, linked to the work of the Lancaster Arts Partners who The Dukes and Live at LICA were founder members of in 2009.”

“A vibrant arts scene is vital to the cultural life of our city. This new partnership celebrates 50 years of University support for the arts in Lancaster and Lancashire and has already begun important work in engaging young people from difficult backgrounds.”

The links between Lancaster University and The Dukes go back decades with the theatre being only seven years younger than the university which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Dukes current co-production – A Farewell To Arms - is with the imitating the dog theatre company founded by Andrew Quick, a Lancaster University professor who was a Dukes Youth Theatre member when growing up in the city.

And The Dukes most recent park show – Hansel & Gretel – was written by Zosia Wand who studied creative writing at the University.

Among the University’s most famous graduates, film and television actor Andy Serkis, had his first professional acting break at The Dukes too.

Live at LICA, the University’s core arts provider, is funded by the University and the Arts Council. LICA’s purpose is to cultivate excellence in and engagement across the performing and visual arts and steward the University’s art collection.

Earlier this year, the University extended its portfolio of support for the arts, forming a Cultural Partnership with The Dukes. This will see the University support The Dukes over three years and develop joint activities with the theatre.

The Dukes Artistic Director, Joe Sumsion said: “Lancaster has an exceptional  university and a brilliant theatre and cultural centre. If we work together, we can enhance each other’s offer for the good of Lancaster as a whole and make it a more attractive place to study, live and work.”



For further information please contact Louise Bryning on 01524 598509 or email

Editor’s Notes

The Cultural Partnership

A new three year cultural partnership between The Dukes and Lancaster University which aims to develop arts, education and learning in Lancaster and to enrich the city’s cultural life.

The partnership’s aims will include: bespoke cultural outreach projects across the Lancaster district as part of the MAKE Project; encouraging international students to engage with the cultural offering of the city; developing a new ‘cultural passport’ for students; boosting student placement opportunities in the arts; promoting shared learning regionally, nationally and internationally via collaborative projects such as the dementia programme; and establishing learning/sharing events around arts, culture, ideas and innovation.

The Dukes

The Dukes Centre For Creative Learning devise and deliver innovative programmes to support the creative, personal, social and educational development of thousands of young people from across Lancashire.

The Dukes is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. It receives regular funding from Arts Council England, Lancashire County 

Council and Lancaster City Council.

The Dukes is the winner of the Lancashire Tourism Cultural Venue/Organisation Award 2013.

Lancaster University

Lancaster University is ranked among the top 10 universities in the UK and the top 150 in the world. It is the highest ranked University in the North West of England in The Guardian, Times/Sunday Times and Complete University Guide.

The University hosts Live at LICA which encompasses Lancaster International Concert Series, the Peter Scott Gallery and the Nuffield Theatre to bring a wealth of UK and international artists at the highest calibre to Lancaster every year in public programmes of professional theatre, dance, exhibitions and concerts.

More than 90 per cent of Lancaster’s research is judged to be internationally excellent and the University has many subject areas which are ranked amongst the best in national and international league tables. 

The University has a strong focus on working with business and has helped create more than 4,000 new jobs.

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