There will be a treat at the Lichfield Garrick next month as a pair of rarely-performed Alan Ayckbourn plays come to the stage. Different Animal Theatre Group and the Lichfield Players will be presenting House and Garden from October 7. The production requires the same cast to perform the two plays on two different stages at the same. Both plays follow the same characters at events surrounding an annual village fete. “Because of the logistical challenges involved, House and Garden haven’t had the same stage exposure as many of Ayckbourn’s other plays, which is why it’s particularly exciting that we’re bringing the plays to Lichfield audiences” said Chris Stanley, director of Garden. “We’re exceptionally lucky to have a perfectly suited performance venue in the Lichfield Garrick, and working closely together, Different Animal is directing and producing House in the Studio, while in the Main Auditorium the Lichfield Players are directing and producing Garden. “The nature of the plays means we both share the same cast. By collaborating, we have all the technical, backstage and directorial expertise to realise what has been described by critics as ‘a masterpiece of timing’. Rehearsals have had to be very carefully planned and choreographed – and during performances, our respective crews will be in constant headset and visual communication to ensure actors appear on the right stage at exactly the right time. “We’ve been fortunate to receive some pointers directly from Alan Ayckbourn himself. We’d love audiences to get the whole of the story and to come to both. And on October 11, with an additional matinee performance of House preceding the evening shows, there’s a great opportunity to see both plays back to back.” Inside, in House, Teddy Platt has the daunting task of playing luncheon host to a high profile novelist, a French film star and townsfolk who are arriving for the annual fete in his back garden. Not easy as Teddy’s wife is pretending she can’t see him, his teenage daughter is flirting outrageously and his best friend has discovered a sordid secret. Meanwhile, outside in Garden, it’s not just the weather that’s looking stormy. Teddy’s mistress Joanna is hiding, heartbroken, in the bushes after Teddy’s told her their affair is over. Joanna’s husband is looking for her, the French film star’s getting fruity and the fete definitely isn’t going according to plan. Different Animal’s House runs at the Lichfield Garrick Studio from October 7 to 12, with two matinee performances. The Lichfield Players’ Garden in the Main Auditorium runs from October 8 to 11, evenings only. There will be an after show fete hosted by the cast on these nights to raise money for charity. Tickets range from £10-£14. Joint tickets are available from £18-£20 to enable audiences to see both sides of the story at a specially discounted rate. To book, call the Garrick box office on 01543 412121 or visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com.