The Trolls of Eycott Hill – they’re bad ‘uns!

The Edington Centre drama group © Emily Dodd

Ladles and jellyspoons, welcome to the first theatrical performance of ‘The Trolls of Eycott Hill’!

The Edington Drama and Media Group presented a splendid evening of family entertainment at The Penrith Players theatre with Cumbria Wildlife Trust on Saturday 7th October, with stories from Prism Arts. Run by Cumbria County Council, The Edington Centre is a day centre for adults with learning disabilities where they are provided innovative daytime activities and opportunities. Inspired by Cumbrian folklore, a group of incredible individuals from the Centre put on a show to support the wildlife conservation in Cumbria and raise awareness of the local nature reserve, Eycott Hill. The weird and wonderful play was written, produced, and performed by the Edington Centre, directed by Max Fuchs, with music provided by Ethereal Music.

The evening began with a comedic trio of clowns who sparked howls of laughter with their humorous pranks, as they pulled out a few tricks from their sleeves and trouser legs to surprise the audience.

More stories followed, telling the tales of folklore that surround Eycott Hill. An evil Jenny Green Teeth planned to destroy the world with her monstrous creations, but after a rebellious act from the ravens, trolls, frogs, and hobs, she was sent down a hole where she now lurks in the depths of the ground.

Before the evening’s interval, Ethereal Music engaged the audience with relaxing instrumental melodies that filled the room as people gazed in awe at the colourful photos of Cumbria on display.

Individuals then helped themselves to hot beverages and homemade cakes whilst they waited for the raffle to take place. Before continuing the show, those with the lucky numbers got their hands on some mysterious gifts and goodies.

To restore the entertainment, Will Harris returned with his piano-playing skills and friends from Sunbeams Music Trust to open their lungs on stage. Richard Raine began with a song that he had previously perfected for an appearance on BBC Radio Cumbria. Alison Beckwith hit the high notes with the tune of ‘Amazing Grace’, whilst Michael Doe wrote his own songs about his holidays. Philip Labram kept his song on track with the support of Will Harris, and Judith Hall bravely performed a classic from Elvis, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’. The room was bursting full of jubilant energy as people bounced up and down on their seats to sing along.

Performers in The Trolls of Eycott Hill

Performers in The Trolls of Eycott Hill © The Edington Centre

The audience was then treated to a stop-motion animation of ‘Eyes on Eycott Hill’ which documented a frog’s journey through Eycott Hill Nature Reserve, where they met various characters along the way, before falling down a hole to meet Jenny Green Teeth. The film, made by Haltwhistle Film Project supporting the Edington Centre, captured the folklore of Eycott Hill, but at the same time incorporated the geological factors of the site. The Edington Centre, along with Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Prism Arts, deserve a huge congratulatory pat on the back for the colossal amount of effort and talent that went into the animation. The audience were then able to watch behind-the-scenes footage of the animation’s creation which revealed the creative process of rotoscoping, modelling, stop-motion, special sound effects, and character designs.

Jenny Greenteeth in The Trolls of Eycott Hill performance © Emily Dodd

Jenny Greenteeth in The Trolls of Eycott Hill performance © Emily Dodd

This film production sprouted the idea to produce a play of the story, which was performed soon after. A buzzing bee, flamboyant frogs, and heroic ravens unravelled the story of Eycott Hill as the audience remained attentive throughout, chuckling away to the hilarity of the entertainment. For such an evil character, Jenny Green Teeth, played by Alan Gordon, was tremendously amusing. Richard Newbold danced away as the Hob in the Wall to add a bit of groove to the evening with hip-hob music.

As smoke emerged on stage and bubbles popped overhead, strawberry flavoured worms were thrown into the audience by the troublesome trolls; before squirting the crowd with ‘lake water’ to end the night with a splash. For just £4, individuals got the experience of an IMAX cinema with far better entertainment, all without the extortionate cost of cinematic snacks.

All credits go to The Edington Centre, especially Rachel, Sarah, Karen, and Dawn, with a special thank-you to Ethereal Music for the audio that accompanied the show, and everyone else who supported the evening.

Emily Dodd

University of Cumbria & Thrown Overboard Media

National Lottery Heritage Fund

 

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.