The Lakes Players opened the drapes to their very first pantomime at the Ladyholme Centre in 1995. Cinderella was to be the most talked about panto in Windermere and oh how far we have come since that very first performance!
It was a cold winter’s January evening, the band was warming up and the local ladies of Windermere were behind the hatch serving teas and coffees from great big urns. There was even a custard cream available for those not on Weight Watchers, but the buzz and the atmosphere of this small local society could not be more electric than a toothbrush.
Four months previously a team of busy bodies had put together this fine show. Costumes were hand sewn and scenery was painted with a tin of Dulux that Mrs Berry had found in her garage. This was the community spirit of the Lakes Players formally known as the Windermere Amateur Operatic Society.
As the years went by the Society continued to develop, more and more local people became involved and we became something that people looked forward to each year.
After 3 years of performing this spectacle at the Ladyholme, the Society came to realise that more space was needed and a move was in order. The Lakes School at Troutbeck Bridge was deemed the ideal venue for our performance, bigger scenery was ordered and a huge array of lights were brought in …Hollywood here we come.
In 1998 Dick Whittington was to be the Lakes Players’ premiere performance at the Lakes School, a new dance team were contacted “The Maria Frances School of Dance” from Ambleside and this completed our perfect lineup.
We are now in our 15th year and have performed Cinderella, Robinson Crusoe, Aladdin and many, many more. Our show now costs us around £25,000 to create from scenery to costumes, special effects and lighting, but without all the trimmings it wouldn’t make us what we are today.
Through the hard work of our members the Lakes Players has become an enduring society, performing each year to hundreds of people. In with keeping that community spirit, we help to provide facilities for the Lakes School which in turn help the pupils develop theatre skills and put on their own performances.
Our show is now considered to be one of the most “amateur” professional pantomimes in South Lakeland and we are all very proud to be part of this magical company.