ONE of JRR Tolkien's best loved tales has magically transformed Lancaster's Williamson Park into Middle Earth - courtesy of The Dukes Theatre.

This year’s Dukes summer outdoor show is the master storyteller's The Hobbit where Bilbo, plus a bold and brave group of dwarves, and one of the world's most celebrated wizards, Gandalf, take the audience on a dramatic and epic journey through enchanted forests and misty mountains filled with strange and wonderful creatures.

Tolkien’s fantastical adventure - which celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2017 - runs at Williamson Park until August 13.

With every show, the audience follow the action by moving from one amazing location to another across the picturesque Park.

Since 1987, The Dukes walkabout shows have transformed Williamson Park into Neverland, Oz, Ancient Greece and now Middle Earth.

“I feel like the park chose The Hobbit,” explained The Dukes artistic director, Joe Sumsion. “There are some shows - and this is one of them - where people’s instant reaction is to say that will be great in the park. It’s the natural environment for it.

“The strongest elements in the book are its humour and charm. We plan to capture this, offering an intimate experience where the audience can get really close to all these fascinating characters and creatures.”

Tolkien was apparently inspired to write his much-loved books by the Lancashire countryside which he visited during the Second World War when his son was studying for the priesthood at a seminary that is now part of Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley.

Tolkien taught there and is believed to have worked on The Lord of the Rings, the follow-up to The Hobbit, while staying at Stonyhurst, which now has a library named after him.

Years later, the blockbuster films adapted from his books starred Andy Serkis as Gollum; Andy began his professional career at The Dukes 30 years ago and appeared in its very first outdoor production in 1987.

The Hobbit features one of the region's finest theatrical talents - Natalie Morrell.

Natalie is one half of the excellent Kendal-based Knotted Project physical theatre company, which she co-founded in 2013 with her partner Simon. The company creates exciting, visually engaging work that captures the audiences imaginations.

Both an actress and theatre practitioner, she trained at East 15 Acting School, graduating with a BA Honours in Physical Theatre.

Natalie plays Kili in The Hobbit and is also movement director for the production.

Dukes box office 01524-598500 or visit