OUT & ABOUT
There is nothing like a Dame…
Sarah Hardy gets the scoop of her life… an interview with Dame Trott!
Dame Trott is, indeed, an inspiration to us all – from running her own thriving business, to being a single parent and pioneering an outstanding fashion sense, she is a woman with it all.
Dame Trott, who we will meet in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal in Norwich this Christmas, runs Trott’s milk emporium, Trott’s Dairy, in Norwich and, with the help of Pat the Cow, supplies all of the city with its milk needs, from full fat to semi skimmed, and skimmed, ‘for those that are body minded,’ as Dame Trott says.
She adds: ‘I really like our ice-creams, you can’t beat them, especially in a float. Simply delicious!’
She lives above the shop, as she says, in Norwich’s prestigious Golden Triangle district of the city and remains fiercely proud of her home town. ‘It’s a marvellous place, isn’t it? Prince of Wales Road is so inviting, I love to go out there.’
She is fulsome in her praise of Pat the Cow, which she has raised since she was a calf. ‘She’s a bit naughty, has her own mind, but is hard working. She is going to have to be even more hard working as things are going to get tough this winter. She will need to buckle down.’
Dame Trott, whose age remains something of a mystery, says that her son Jack has a special relationship with Pat the Cow, explaining: ‘Well, you see they grew up together, they have spent a lot of time together so they know each other very well.’
She adds: ‘I’m a widow, you know, so there won’t be any more children. It’s just Jack. But he’s a lovely boy. He fetches me our water every day without fail.’
But Dame Trott, showing a little bit of uncharacteristic candour, did hint of a special someone who had caught her eye. ‘Well, yes, I am single and ready and certainly open for love. It has been a long, long time. I have seen someone, but I can’t say too much – not yet.’
But she goes on to talk about our very own king in very, you know, glowing terms, saying: ‘Isn’t he wonderful, so lovely, so kind. I do like having royal friends.’
Certainly the king could be forgiven for falling for Dame Trott, who has a superb figure and sophisticated dress sense. ‘I’m lucky, it all comes very naturally to me. I can eat what I want, when I want. I never seem to put on weight – I still have the figure of an 18-year-old,’ she says.
For exercise, she attends two origami classes a week which help to keep her trim, and she obviously works hard in the dairy. ‘And it’s a glass or 10 of milk every day that keeps me so wonderful,’ she says.
When pressed she also admits to enjoying singing and dancing, too. ‘Oh, yes! They say that I’m a triple threat, you know. I can do it all.’
Dame Trott is just as modest about her extensive and elaborate wardrobe. ‘I love fashion and it loves me. I tend to set the fashion pace in Norwich and people are always excited to see what I’m wearing. I make everything myself, I always have and I’m self-taught, too – it’s a natural gift.’
She adds: ‘I’m not one of those people who thinks less is more. I like more is more. But then, don’t we all?’
She has lots of dramatic outfits lined up for the festive period but isn’t prepared to reveal too many details. ‘I have to keep a few surprises, don’t I? I like to keep you guessing what might be next.’
But there is, however, one cloud on Dame Trott’s horizon – the local giant, the scourge of Norwich. ‘Oh, he’s a brute. He is steadily putting up all our rents and making life very, very tricky for everyone. I don’t know how we will manage or what we can do. It has been a trying year and we just have to hope for better times.
‘He is fine, of course – he lives in the clouds above Norwich. He’s got a very nice detached house, it’s very Newmarket Road.’
Dame Trott is keeping herself happy by looking forward to Christmas and a lovely holiday period, spending time with her nearest and dearest. ‘We always have a turkey,’ she says. ‘We keep it traditional, you know. I’m not sure who will be round the table this year. We do like a crowd.’
Dame Trott is played by actor and comedian Richard Gauntlett who has been a mainstay of the Norwich Theatre Royal’s hugely successful panto for more than 20 years, nearly always playing the Dame and wearing in excess of 10 dazzling outfits per show. He also writes the panto, bringing that very special mixture of childish slapstick humour and a few risque jokes for the parents thrown in, too. Look out for quips about Ipswich Town Football Club, and he likes to throw in a few digs at Norwich City Council.
This year’s panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, also stars Joe Tracini as loveable Jack, Rufus Hound as King Nigel of Norwich and Casualty’s Amanda Henderson as Pat the Cow.
It runs from December 10 until January 7 and tickets are now for sale.
More details at: www.norwichtheatre.org