Theatre by The Lake's new spring season puts the emphasis on nature and sense of place with a world premiere, award-winning directors, a record number of collaborations with other leading northern theatres and a return to theatre in the round.
The Keswick theatre also plans to present shows originally scheduled for the 2020 pandemic-hit season,
kicking off in the studio theatre with SWIM (March 31-April 16) by Liz Richardson. Liz grew up in the Lake District and has written an ode to the healing power of nature and outdoor swimming after her community was rocked by tragedy. Directed by Andy Routledge, the show will embark on a rural and UK tour following its TBTL run.
The main house season starts in late February with Stockroom's production of The Glee Club (February 24-March 12) by Richard Cameron, a raucous musical comedy about five hard-working, hard-drinking miners and a church organist rehearsing for a local gala.
In April, TBTL and Octagon Theatre Bolton will co-produce Kes (April 6-30). Adapted by Robert Alan Evans, Ken Loach’s acclaimed British drama about a troubled teenager, whose discovery of a hawk’s nest leads him first to freedom then to heartbreak, is directed by Atri Banerjee – recently named by The Stage as one of the top theatre-makers to watch in 2022.
In June the world premiere finally comes round of The Climbers (June 17-July 16) by Carmen Nasr – cancelled in 2020 – is an exploration of our fascination with the mountains, the drive to conquer them, and the agony of life or death decisions in extreme situations. Nasr, a British-Lebanese writer – winner of Channel 4's playwriting scheme, debuts this world premiere in one of England's premier rock-climbing environments.
Next comes TBL's turn for the Octagon/Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse co-production of the smash-hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors (July 20-September 3). Lotte Wakeham's new production will introduce Cumbrian audiences to the hapless Francis Henshall and his increasingly desperate measures to keep his two "guvnors" from discovering one another.
In Autumn. the theatre shifts to in-the-round seating for Emma Rice’s musical adaptation of Brief Encounter (Sept 14-October 8), which adds musical numbers and physical comedy to the romance of the original. The theatre is collaborating with Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre and again, Bolton's Octagon, to present this show following their successful collaboration on Home I’m Darling.
Finishing the year is Mary Norton's much-loved classic, The Borrowers (November 25- January 14), adapted for the stage by Theresa Heskins. TBTL’s stage will become an adventure playground for the tiny cast living beneath the floorboards!
The theatre's artistic director, Liz Stevenson, said: “I’m thrilled to announce our programme. I’m absolutely delighted that we’re producing the world premiere of The Climbers and co-producing SWIM, maintaining our commitment to telling stories that have a connection to our landscape and local communities. I’m also proud to be partnering with so many fantastic northern theatres and exciting artists to bring top quality theatre to Keswick.
"Our programme of home-produced work will be surrounded by some fantastic visiting productions and special events that celebrate the creativity of our local communities and emerging theatre-makers, and we look forward to revealing more about our plans soon.”