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Carlisle Green Room Club prove theatre can be accessible to all, after welcoming Bertie the guide dog to their latest production.

The theatre group were thrilled to welcome 24 year old, Lydia Hulme and her Guide Dog, Bertie to West Walls Theatre in Carlisle, during the recent run of the Jeeves and Wooster production.

Lydia, who is originally from Torquay, studied Musical Theatre and Drama at the University of Cumbria and as a result enjoys regular trips to the theatre. Many of Lydia’s friends are members of the Green Room Club and the director, James Issitt, was her former tutor at university.

This was her first trip to the theatre since she got the 2 year old Labradoodle, Bertie in November 2016.

Lydia explained: “My life is brilliant since I got Bertie, it’s just 10 times better. All my friends say I walk a few inches taller and a lot quicker. I’ve got a best friend and companion in him.

“I think everyone who gets a guide dog realises how much more they get out and about.”

Staff at the Green Room Club were thrilled to accommodate Lydia and Bertie and the pair were invited to attended a rehearsal to enable Bertie to familiarise himself with the actors and layout of the theatre. On the evening of the performance Bertie lapped up the attention as he received a warm welcome by both the team and fellow audience members. The Labradoodle was given his own free seat, so he was able to lie underneath in peace whilst Lydia enjoyed the show.

Lydia said: “The production was brilliant, the best thing I’ve seen from the Green Room Club.

“It was the first time I had taken my guide dog Bertie and everyone was really friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble. It’s definitely something that other people with guide dogs could do.”

After the show, Lydia and Bertie were invited backstage to have their photographs taken with the cast.

She added: “It’s lovely knowing that you feel welcome everywhere, sometimes you can feel a bit unwelcome with a dog, so it’s nice to know that there’s definitely somewhere you can go for some entertainment and an evening out, where you’ll both be made welcome and everyone is just really lovely and laid back.

“I will definitely be attending future productions.”

Although it is illegal to refuse entry to guide dogs, unfortunately it does occasionally happen. Fortunately Lydia’s initial fears have proved to be unfounded, as her and Bertie have received a warm welcome everywhere in the city.

Publicity Officer, Kath Paterson said: “Carlisle Green Room actively encourage any person with a disability or impairment to come along and enjoy the Theatre.”

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