Lord of Rings star Andy Serkis to be Lancaster theatre patron

Andy Serkis Image copyright John Russo
Image caption Actor Andy Serkis last visited The Dukes seven years ago when he brought his children to look around the theatre where he started his career

An actor who achieved worldwide fame as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy is to be made an honorary patron of The Dukes theatre in Lancaster.

Andy Serkis, 52, began his career at the venue in 1987, appearing in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

A former Lancaster University student, Serkis has also starred in King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

He said he was "delighted" to return to the venue where he "learnt his craft".

Image copyright The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster
Image caption Andy Serkis, centre, as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was The Dukes' first outdoor promenade production in 1987

He said: "I performed here in 14 plays on the trot, appearing in a wide variety of plays, and I remember my time in Lancaster with great fondness.

"I am delighted to become an honorary patron of The Dukes."

The Dukes is currently performing its own outdoor walkabout version of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit in the city's Williamson Park until 13 August.

Artistic director Joe Sumsion said: "We're excited that Andy has agreed to be an honorary patron.

"The timing couldn't be better as we look forward to a season with The Hobbit - a story with which Andy has such a strong connection."

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