Theatrical Treats In Store At Theatre By The Lake

Theatre by the Lake. Photo by Cactus Creative

Theatre by the Lake revealed plans for their 2018 Season at a Season Launch , at which they revealed that they would be staging a diverse range of home-grown productions over the course of the year, alongside a programme of visiting work.

Conrad Lynch, Artistic Director at Theatre by the Lake

Artistic Director, Conrad Lynch, said: “Following the success of 2017, including the London transfer of the critically acclaimed Miss Julie (which has been nominated for four Off West End awards) and the UK tour of As You Like It, we’re now looking ahead to an exciting 2018. In the Main House our programme offers some vintage comedy, an adaptation of a much-loved novel, and an acclaimed double bill from one of Britain’s finest playwrights.

“Studio audiences can look forward to a beautiful one-woman show, a revival of a gutsy and gripping contemporary classic, and, continuing our commitment to new writing, the world premiere of a play which was shortlisted at the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.”

Hymn to Love. Photo of Elizabeth Mansfield by Hugo Glendinning

Following a packed February and March of music, dance, children’s shows and touring drama, Theatre by the Lake’s Spring Season features Olivier-nominated actress Elizabeth Mansfield in the one-woman tour-de-force Hymn to Love, an extraordinary homage to Edith Piaf. Co-produced with York Theatre Royal, Hymn to Love will play in the Studio from 23 March to 10 April, after which it will embark on a rural tour across Cumbria. It will play in York Theatre Royal from 17 to 21 April.

In the Main House, the theatre welcomes not one but two classic dramas, with A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams produced by English Touring Theatre (3 to 7 April), and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in an adaptation by Ken Bentley and starring Nichola McAuliffe (10 to 14 April), best known for her role as Sheila Sabatini in the ITV sitcom Surgical Spirit.

The Summer Season of home-produced work runs with a resident company of ten actors from 24 May.

Summer Season 2018 at Theatre by the Lake

The three Main House productions are:

  • Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, a play from the works of P.G. Wodehouse by The Goodale Brothers in which three actors play a multitude of characters in an inventive and totally bonkers send-up of Wodehouse’s iconic double act. A recent hit in the West End, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense won the 2014 Olivier award for Best New Comedy.
  • Single Spies by Alan Bennett. Here one of Britain’s best loved playwrights turns his attention to the Cambridge spy scandal of the 50s, with two beautifully written comic vignettes (An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution) which shed light on the fascinating characters of Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt. Winner of the 1990 Olivier award for Best Comedy.
  • Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility adapted by Jessica Swale; the sparkling tale of the Dashwood sisters and affairs of the heart in a gorgeous adaptation by the Olivier award-winning playwright who adapted Theatre by the Lake’s Christmas show The Secret Garden.

The Studio productions are:

  • The world premiere of Rails by Simon Longman. Shortlisted in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, Rails tells the story of two bored and lonely teens whose lives collide over the course of a long hot summer. Funny, poignant, and sharply reminiscent of the joy, pain and confusion of growing up.
  • Bold Girls by Rona Munro. Set in Belfast in the early 90s, Bold Girls explores female friendship against the backdrop of a city in upheaval. Rona Munro is one of Scotland’s most acclaimed playwrights; she also wrote Iron which was a hit in Theatre by the Lake’s 2016 Season.

The Theatre by the Lake Christmas production for 2018/2019 will be an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast by Laurence Boswell. A thrilling and inventive take on the classic fairy tale for all the family, Beauty and the Beast will run from 23 November to 12 January.

The Words by the Water programme was also announced at the Season Launch, and was introduced by Kay Dunbar, Festival Director, who said: “This year’s programme is quite exceptional. If you read it, you will be amazed at the range of people coming to Theatre by the Lake in Keswick: we have Vince Cable, Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayne, Terry Waite, Michael Rosen and not forgetting our president Melvyn Bragg, who speaks at the festival most years. We also have speakers on Syria, travel writing, the rainforest, Agatha Christie, the country after Brexit, Theresa May’s year, Pablo Neruda, Lowther Castle Gardens and heart transplants. We often say there is something for everyone, and as you can see with this programme we try to cater for all tastes and interests.” Words by the Water runs from 9 to 18 March.

Visiting work highlights include the smash-hit show Nina – A Story About Me and Nina Simone(27 February – 3 March) which comes to Keswick following sell-out runs at London’s Young Vic and the Traverse in Edinburgh, and Phoenix Dance Theatre’s triple bill Calyx, Windrush and Shadows, a celebration of the arrival of the first Caribbean migrants to the UK, set to an uplifting soundtrack ranging from calypso, jazz and blues, to ska, gospel and reggae. The theatre is also proud to present a wide range of shows and events for families, from Little Mermaid – The Circus Sensation to the North-West based company M6 Theatre’s lovely show A Tiger’s Tale. For film buffs, Keswick Film Festival returns once more (22 to 25 February), and the theatre will be one of the venues for 2018’s Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival (10 to 13 May).

Conrad Lynch concluded the Season Launch saying: “Thank you to everyone who has supported Theatre by the Lake during my first year as Artistic Director – our staff, volunteers, Friends, Ambassadors, sponsors, funders and donors, ticket agents and, of course, our audiences. Join us again in 2018 for an exhilarating year of theatre and performance.”

Priority booking for Friends of Theatre by the Lake is open from 8 December, in person, online or over the phone. To find out about becoming a Friend call the Box Office on 017687 74411, or visit

General booking opens on Monday 8 January from 9.30am, in person, online or over the phone. Please note that some February and March events are already on sale to the general public.

To find out more please visit or call the Box Office on 017687 74411. The full season brochure can be viewed at:

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