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Keswick Theatre by the Lake announces survival plan

Theatre by the Lake. Pic: Cactus Collective
Theatre by the Lake. Pic: Cactus Collective

Theatre by the Lake is hoping to ensure its survival by implementing drastic measures, including staff redundancies, cancelling its Christmas show and maintaining a minimal number of staff to plan for a full reopening at some unspecified future date.

The theatre has already cancelled its summer rep season and made the decision to cancel a seven week run of The Borrowers at Christmas because bosses had no confidence audiences could return at a sustainable level to justify the advance outlay on the show.

The theatre has also confirmed it will be considering “significant” staff redundancies to reduce annual payroll costs of close to £1m. Executive director James Cobbold said: “Our industry faces an exceptionally challenging situation for the foreseeable future. We have to take action now to ensure we survive this challenging period of disruption and uncertainty.

Artistic director Liz Stevenson added: “If there is to be theatre in Keswick, and if we are to provide employment opportunities in the future, then we have no choice but to consider these actions in the short term.” Theatre by the Lake is the only year-round producing theatre in Cumbria, serving one of England’s largest and most rurally-isolated counties. The theatre mounts over 400 performances of home-produced work, hundreds of events and four festivals a year. The theatre marked its 20th anniversary last year with its most financially-successful year to date.

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