THIS year's Bowness Theatre Festival features a real gem and yet another work staged to celebrate the birth 150 years ago of one of the world's most famous names - Beatrix Potter.

Running from Friday, September 16 (7.30pm) until Sunday, October 9, as part of the Old Laundry Theatre's popular season, Meeting Bea is from the pen of highly regarded radio and theatre playwright Eric Pringle, a former Kendal Provincial Insurance worker, whose also well known for his Big George children's books.

Eric originally wrote Meeting Bea for radio and first broadcast by the BBC in 1993. The play tells of Beatrix Potter - played by Veronica Roberts (Housewife 49, Sherlock's Last Case) - as Mrs William Heelis, a successful Lake District farmer. Her children’s books have been left far behind in a past which she never wants to revisit. One day her life is turned upside down by the arrival of a girl from Lancashire who is seeking a different life and an American publisher who just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer!

Another class act and highlight for the Bowness festival promises to be the return of LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art).

The revered drama school performs Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country’s Good, on Thursday, October 20; Stars in the Morning Sky (October 21) by Alexander Galin, and Julian Mitchell's Another Country (Saturday, October 22).

No Bowness Theatre Festival would be complete without a contribution from the master playwright himself - Alan Ayckbourn.

His offering this year is a new revival of his classic comedy Henceforward, running from Tuesday, November 1 until Saturday, November 12.

Meanwhile, a show for all the family will be Owl and Puss from JayBird Productions, staged at Bowness on October 27, putting a fresh spin on the much-loved, age old tale of the Owl and Pussycat who went to sea on a pea green boat.

Once again, music plays a leading role in the Old Laundry festival. Included will be distinguished, internationally-renowned pianist Martin Roscoe and Friends, who provide a veritable banquet of music for three nights during the weekend of October 14-16.

Messiaen's powerful Quartet For the End of Time is one of the major works featured.

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