SOLICITOR Elizabeth Webbe joined actors Julian Glover and Lisa Eichhorn on stage at Salisbury Playhouse last Friday to mark law firm Trethowans' sponsorship of the theatre's latest production, Shadowlands.

Trethowans, which has offices in Salisbury and Southampton, is one of the Playhouse's corporate patrons and Shadowlands is the second production it has sponsored, following Noël Coward's Relative Values, in January 2005.

The firm is also using the play to help promote its expertise in wills, trusts and tax planning.

Working in partnership with the Playhouse, it is offering a series of four free, informal seminars that will show people how to protect their family's inheritance from unnecessary tax.

Miss Webbe, partner and head of the private client services group, said: "It is to our mutual benefit to support the Playhouse, because the theatre needs commercial sponsorship, and we benefit by using the medium of theatre and storytelling to get across the sometimes complex issues involved in estate planning.

"Shadowlands is a ready-made vehicle to help us achieve this.

"We can link into the personal circumstances of characters in the show and use them to help highlight the points we wish to raise.

"It's an effective way of putting dry legal issues into context and showing their relevance."

Shadowlands is based on the life of author C S (Jack) Lewis, who meets and marries spirited American poet Joy Gresham. When she is diagnosed with cancer, Jack begins a journey into the shadowlands', discovering that all his books and knowledge have not prepared him for the ordinary hurt of life.

Trethowans' seminars have been tailored to suit two age groups - 30-50 and 50-plus - and they include refreshments and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Playhouse. Bryn Hughes, marketing director of Trethowans, said: "It doesn't matter what age you are when you die, 40 per cent of any property, pension plans, life assurances, cash and other assets you have, over the tax-free allowance, will be taken in inheritance tax.

"A will is a basic starting point to help prevent this happening."

The sessions are being held on February 13 and 20 - mornings for the 50-plus age group and evenings for 30-50s.

To reserve a place, contact the Playhouse box office on 01722 320333 or Gemma Fuge, at Trethowans, on 01722 412512.

The production of Shadowlands runs until February 10.