Nature Reserve transformed for outdoor theatre performance

Penruddock Primary School at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve © Prism Arts

Eycott Hill Nature Reserve was transformed on Thursday 20th June as more than 120 performers shared tales of tropical seas, legends of battling giants, warnings about mischievous faeries, stories of volcanic eruptions, and the adventures of intrepid explorers.

The Hill of Dreams was an outdoor theatre performance, made possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, that shared stories written and performed by local people inspired by the natural heritage of Eycott Hill Nature Reserve including its wildlife, geology, and folklore.

Children from Braithwaite CofE School, Distington Community School, Greystoke Primary School, Penruddock Primary School, and St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, plus adults with learning disabilities from Cumbria County Council’s Edington Centre and Prism Art’s Studio Theatre group wrote and performed the pieces with the support of professional artists from Prism Arts.  

Ali McCaw, Artistic Director of Prism Arts said “The performance was a celebration of a four year partnership project between Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Prism Arts that was designed to encourage participants to respond to the nature reserve creatively and to encourage an exploration of the natural world through the arts. During the project participants used a range of art forms to develop and tell their stories including creative writing, illustration, textiles, and animation, and some of this work was displayed on the nature reserve during the performance alongside textile and mixed media artwork produced by Prism Arts Studio Workshop group.”

Nichola Jackson, Eycott Hill Communications and Events Officer said: “This project brought together lots of different groups including local school children, adults with learning disabilities, and older people from Amy’s Care and residential homes in Penrith over a four year period and the final performances were enjoyed by more than 100 specially invited guests. We’ve loved seeing Eycott Hill Nature Reserve through the eyes of the participants and we’re really thankful to the performers for all their hard work and enthusiasm. It was a day to remember and made possible thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the dedication and support of staff from Prism Arts, the schools, Edington Centre, and our volunteers.”

CanO Water kindly supported the event with canned water to keep the performers happy and hydrated during the event while helping to minimise the use of single use plastic bottles.

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund who awarded £1.6 million towards the purchase price and an ongoing five year programme of conservation and activities to benefit wildlife and people.

Located between Keswick and Penrith, near to the village of Mungrisdale, Eycott Hill is 216 hectares of exceptionally rich wildlife habitat and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for the plants in the swamps and mires and its geology.

For the latest news sign up to the Eycott Hill newsletter and follow the #EycottHill on Twitter

heritage lottery 332px wide

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