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Dame Trott and Daisy the Cow took a trip to Lowther Castle and Gardens this week as part of their research for Jack and the Beanstalk, this year’s pantomime to be produced by local amateur dramatic group The Watermillock Players.
Trott and cow dropped by to size up a summer house that has become the inspiration for the Dame’s onstage abode. They are two of the more exotic visitors who have flocked to the Castle in their thousands since its grounds were opened again for the first time in 70 years last Easter.
The summer house was spotted by panto director Pauline Bunting and local artist Joan Lowis during a familiarisation trip to the castle and gardens organised by the Ullswater Association. Nestled beneath a canopy of trees, the little cottage appears to be constructed of ‘platted’ wood and is quite simply, magical.
Pauline said: “It’s like the house was actually designed as part of a stage set and I just loved the idea of being able to recreate it on stage for this year’s show.”
Joan from Tirril Art Group joined forces with Celia Ashworth from Watermillock Art Group to bring Dame Trott’s cottage to life. Together they have been burning the midnight oil and putting the finishing touches are now being put to both a village backdrop and the freestanding recreation of the Lowther summer house ready for the performances in November.
Lowther Castle and Gardens’ Commercial Director, Andrew Mercer said: “I was thrilled when the Watermillock Players asked if they could use the house as the basis for the dame’s cottage. It’s lovely to think that these historic gardens still capture the imagination of visitors in all sorts of ways.”
Dame Trott and Daisy the Cow were suitably impressed with the real life version of their home and are now back deep in rehearsals along with the other 19 members of the group which includes a local vicar, eight local school children, two farmers, a film studies student, two grannies and no less than two doctors.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs for three nights from Thursday 17 to Saturday 19 November at 7.30pm at Watermillock Village Hall. Tickets cost £6 and £3 and are available by calling 017684 86797. There is a nightly raffle with some truly brilliant prizes donated by local hotels and attractions including Leeming House, Ullswater Steamers, Theatre by the Lake, The Rampsbeck, The Queen’s Head Tirril and of course, Lowther Castle and Gardens. Book early to avoid disappointment.