Theatre By The Lake reveals survival plans in wake of coronavirus

Theatre By The Lake: tough actions. Pic: Cactus Collective

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Paul Genty

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Almost 40 staff to be made redundant

Keswick's Theatre by the Lake is to make 38 staff redundant to try to ensure its post-pandemic survival.

Theatre bosses say keeping going required “difficult decisions and decisive action” in the light of changes to the Government’s furlough scheme and social distance requirements. 

The theatre hopes to hire staff back once it has reopened next year.

Artistic director Liz Stevenson said: “We deeply regret every job loss, but these actions are necessary to ensure TBTL successfully reopens in 2021 and continues to serve its community and audiences."

Executive director James Cobbold added: “This has been a very difficult process for everyone involved, but is the reality of the situation many theatres currently face.”

The theatre has so far raised nearly £90,000 towards supporting the reopening, some as straight cash donations and some from the 2,000 ticket holders for cancelled shows, many of whom have waived refunds.

A team of 12 people will now plan for the permanent reopening of the theatre in 2021, and in the meantime find new ways to entertain audiences and support local communities.

Liz Stevenson and James Cobbold commented: “We’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far. The show of support has been overwhelming.”

The theatre has created a JustGiving page for its appeal, and a major campaign is being planned to fund the cost of reopening.

Theatre by the Lake was recently awarded a grant from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund to provide essential support during the Covid-19 crisis, and will be asking for more from the Government’s £1.57bn support fund.

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