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Jane buys millionth Tolethorpe ticket

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A woman from Stamford was the lucky person to purchase the millionth ticket sold since performances began at Tolethorpe Hall in 1977.

In doing so, Jane Smethurst won herself a host of prizes including a bottle of champagne, a free meal or picnic, a backstage tour and free membership of the friends scheme.

Jane visited Tolethorpe Hall on Sunday where she was presented with the bottle of champagne and the winning ticket by the Stamford Shakespeare Company’s chairman, Richard Byron-White.

She was also introduced to the cast of this year’s production of The Merchant of Venice, who were at the hall wearing their costumes for a photoshoot on the day.

“Enjoying Shakespeare performed in the open air has become a lifetime passion,” said Jane.

“For my mother and myself, attending each of the plays being performed has become a fixture in our summer diaries, and we never fail to enjoy every performance.”

Jane’s family moved to Stamford in the mid-1970s and she and sister Amanda attended Stamford High School.

They were always encouraged to see a theatre performance of whichever Shakespearean play they were studying and her family attended productions in the Monestary Garden at The George Hotel.

Over the years they have also enjoyed numerous visits to Tolethorpe Hall, and for the past three years have booked for all three productions each summer.

“Stamford is so fortunate to have such a dedicated theatre company providing such quality entertainment in such a fantastic location,” said Jane.

“Sitting in the audience at Tolethorpe really transports you to another world.”

She said her favourite Shakespeare play was The Taming of the Shrew.

“But I have also loved the more contemporary productions, particularly Dad’s Army and The Wind in the Willows.

“I feel very lucky to be the holder of the millionth ticket, and look forward to many more years of wonderful productions.”

The Stamford Shakespeare Company, celebrating its 50th anniversary, will present three plays this summer including The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The School For Scandal, at the Rutland Open Air Theatre.


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