Chatsworth House theatre bursts back into life after Covid pandemic

Chatsworth Players will present an hilarious comedy in the Duke and Duchess’s stately home.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 11:59 am
Kate Stuart (the mischievous stately home tour guide) rehearses in the surroundings of Chatsworth with Helen Rogers (her partner in crime).
Kate Stuart (the mischievous stately home tour guide) rehearses in the surroundings of Chatsworth with Helen Rogers (her partner in crime).

Silenced by the pandemic two years ago, the little theatre high up in the North Tower of Chatsworth House will burst back into life in October when Lettice and Lovage is staged.

Best known for presenting classic dramas, Chatsworth Players have deliberately gone for light-hearted fare this time. Says director Lindsay Jackson: “The idea of doing something heavy and serious just now was unthinkable.”

Lettice, the main character in Peter Shaffer’s play, is a stately home tour guide who cannot resist inventing ‘alternative facts’ to make her commentaries more entertaining. The part was written specifically for Dame Maggie Smith, who starred in the play’s record-breaking two-year run at London’s Globe Theatre.

The Covid threat has meant cutting down on numbers at rehearsals, and Lettice and Lovage has only five characters, all female, from Baslow, Cromford, Matlock, Curbar and Over Haddon. Says Lindsay: “We have some plays with large casts that we’re dying to do, but we are holding back on them until the virus numbers are low enough for everyone to feel safe.”

At the October production, audience members are to be suitably distanced, and the society is encouraging them to be Covid-tested beforehand and to wear masks.

Lettice and Lovage runs from October 14 to 23. Tickets are available from www.chatsworthplayers.com

Chatsworth Players was formed in 2007 by Lindsay Jackson’s mother, Sylvia. The society has a following of hundreds of patrons including residents of Canada, USA and Japan who time their visits to Derbyshire to coincide with productions.