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Theatre by the Lake

Lakeside, KESWICK, Cumbria, CA12 5DJ
01768 774411
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Key: Theatre Includes What's On Includes Offers Chosen Theatre

What's on highlights

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense
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“Man and boy, Jeeves, I have been in some tough spots in my time, but this one wins the mottled oyster”

Join aristocratic man about town Bertie Wooster and his dutiful valet Jeeves for a weekend away at a country house. When Wooster is called on to play matchmaker and inadvertently steals an antique silver cow-creamer (don’t ask), the ever dependable Jeeves is on hand to step in and save Bertie’s bacon. Three actors play a multitude of characters in this inventive and totally bonkers send-up of P.G. Wodehouse’s iconic double act, which won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

Directed by Philip Wilson
Designed by Colin Falconer
Running time 2 hrs 10 mins including a 20 minute interval.

Single Spies
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Alan Bennett’s Olivier Award winning comedy masterpiece uncovers the true stories behind two notorious spies. Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt were members of the infamous Cambridge Spies. This compelling double bill, set in both Moscow and London, chronicles their extraordinary lives: secret identities, police interrogations, and encounters with the Queen. In An Englishman Abroad, double agent Guy Burgess has defected to the Soviets and is living in Moscow. But when he’s visited by the actress Coral Browne, Burgess entrusts her with a top secret mission of her own.

As A Question of Attribution shows, there was nobody Sir Anthony Blunt didn’t know. As Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, he was on friendly terms with Her Majesty. But with an art forgery on his hands and a policeman in his office, Blunt’s latest trip to Buckingham Palace is looking awkward… These witty comedies are as fascinating as they are funny.

Directed by Tom Littler
Designed by Louie Whitemore

Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility
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Things look bleak for sisters Marianne and Elinor Dashwood when they find themselves cheated out of their inheritance and turfed out of their home with little money to live on and even less to recommend themselves to suitors. Banished to a chilly cottage in Devonshire, the arrival of a dashing stranger promises to change their fortunes forever; but as the sisters each discover, the course of true love never did run smooth. Austen’s razor-sharp wit sizzles in this beloved tale of injustice, heartbreak and love in an adaptation that is as fresh as it is funny from Olivier Award-winning writer Jessica Swale.

Directed by Juliet Forster
Designed by Barney George
Adapted by Jessica Swale

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A WORLD PREMIERE, by Simon Longman.

Mike is a 16 year old who’s really into his scooter. He’s really into Sarah too. But she’s probably not that into him. His brother Ben is stuck working in a petrol station and dreams of escape and their mum can’t seem to speak anymore. Cars are passing through the dead end town they live in, but they don’t ever stop. One summer, with the temperature rising and the town sweltering in the grip of a heat wave, their lives collide and something, anything, has to break.

Simon Longman’s funny, poignant and emotionally arresting new play was shortlisted for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Beautifully written and acutely observed, Rails is a play about loneliness, dreaming and trying to hope in a town that doesn’t seem to want you to.

Directed by Clive Judd
Designed by Georgia de Grey
Running time 2 hrs 30 mins including a 20 minute interval

Strong language, smoking and scenes of violence

Bold Girls
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It’s 1991 in West Belfast. With their husbands either locked up or killed, Marie, Cassie and Nora are just trying to get on with their lives, despite the bombs, burning buses and soldiers trampling the flower beds. Life must go on – after all, there’s still laundry to do and kids to feed. But when a mysterious young woman turns up on Marie’s doorstep and disrupts their girls’ night out, the devastating revelations which ensue will shatter dreams and threaten their friendship irrevocably. Sharply funny, moving, yet never shying from the harsh realities of life during The Troubles, the award-winning Bold Girls announced Rona Munro as one of the best playwrights of her generation in this celebration of women’s strength under siege.

Directed by Bobby Brook
Designed by Louie Whitemore
Written by Rona Munro.

The Other Place
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Confident, clever and highly successful, neurologist Juliana Smithton is at the top of her game. But while delivering a lecture to a roomful of doctors, she’s interrupted by a series of disturbing events. With her husband filing for divorce and her health in the balance, Juliana’s life seems to be unravelling. As details emerge of a ten-year old mystery, fact blurs with fiction, the past collides with the present, secrets are spilled and slowly the elusive and shocking truth is revealed.

Nothing is as it seems in the UK premiere of Sharr White’s brilliantly crafted and emotionally charged psychological thriller.

This show contains strong language and smoking.

Beauty & the Beast
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When Beauty’s father hears that his long-lost ship packed with pearls has landed safely in harbour, his family’s dreams come true. Setting out on a long, arduous journey to claim his fortune and secure their prosperity, he stumbles across a world of great riches, beguiling magic and a fearsome beast. But when he picks a rose as a present for his favourite daughter, little does he realise what he’s unleashed. This timeless tale of the true nature of beauty and the transformational power of love is brought to glorious life in Laurence Boswell’s thrilling and inventive adaptation filled with music, dance and song. A true feast for the imagination this Christmas.

Directed by Sarah Esdaile

‘Artistically sharp and stunningly situated’ - New Statesman

‘Combines a spot as idyllic as anywhere on Earth, with first class theatrical entertainment’ - Daily Telegraph

Theatre by the Lake opened in 1999. It is set a short stroll from Derwentwater on the edge of the bustling town of Keswick, amid the magnificent western fells of the Lake District. Theatre by the Lake is a producing theatre with regional and national impact, building upon the rich cultural heritage created in and inspired by the Lake District. From its unique rural location, Theatre by the Lake produces excellent, ambitious and inspiring theatre for its audiences and is a creative hub through which it engages with the communities of, and visitors to, Cumbria.

Born out of Century Theatre’s travelling Blue Box, it was willed into existence by passionate theatre lovers who wanted a permanent home for theatre in Keswick. Theatre by the Lake was the first theatre to be built with the help of the National Lottery and is the only year-round producing theatre in Cumbria. It has two stages, a 400-seat Main House and 100-seat Studio, and presents up to nine of its own productions of classic, modern and new plays throughout the year serving a loyal all-year-round audience of residents and visitors to the region. The theatre’s Summer Season is very special, with productions performed in rep by a resident company of actors; audiences can catch several plays in a one-week visit, and see the same actors performing across a variety of roles. Alongside its own work, Theatre by the Lake welcomes a fantastic range of visiting companies and artists, and hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. In 2017, the theatre won Most Welcoming Theatre award in the North West for the fourth year running. Alongside Rails, the 2018 Season includes Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Single Spies, Sense and Sensibility and Bold Girls playing in rep, followed by The Other Place and our Christmas production of Beauty and the Beast.




The Lakeside car park (operated by Allerdale Borough Council) is situated next to the theatre.


Spotlight Café Bar | Opening Hours: Performance days: Serving food from 11am until 5pm, from 5pm there is bar service. Non-performance days: 11am until 5pm.
Situated within the theatre building, Spotlight Café Bar offers delicious cakes, lunch and snacks and a quiet space to relax and unwind. In the evening during a show it's a bar serving everything from champagne to local ale.

Lakeside Café Restaurant | Opening Hours: 9.00am - 9.00pm
Lakeside Café Restaurant is perched between the theatre and Derwentwater. Lofty, light and airy, its large windows give spectacular views across the lake to Cat Bells and beyond. It's the perfect setting for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake or a stylish dinner before a show whether you are seeing a show or just stopped by on impulse. It's also welcoming to groups and available to hire for your special occasions.


Performance days: 9.00am - 9.00pm


12 noon until end of performance.

Access Info

For detailed access information please visit the theatre's access page:

Tokenline: 020 3011 0755

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