Autumn/Winter Season Announcement
Mon 22 May 2023

Autumn/Winter Season Announcement

  •    This Christmas, TBTL present the world premiere of ‘A Little Princess’, a magical new production of the classic tale
  •    Expect a full and exciting programme for families, including Christmas family adventure, ‘Wolf’
  •    ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is an uplifting, honest and very funny play about loss and hope
  •    Plus a host of performances created by and for the Cumbrian community

Theatre by the Lake has announced its Autumn/Winter 2023 season, with an exciting diverse programme of new drama, family shows and live music plus a host of performances created by and for the Cumbrian community.

This Christmas, TBTL present the world premiere of their new production of ‘A Little Princess’, adapted by Amanda Dalton from the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Journey with Sara Crewe as she travels from the freedom of a childhood in India to a boarding school in a cold, dark corner of northern England. Just as she begins to build a brighter world for herself and her friends, some devastating news arrives from home and her life takes a terrible turn – but meanwhile, our storyteller Ramdas is on his way from faraway Shimla, with a twist in the tale that could change everything. With an array of memorable characters, original music and mesmerising puppetry, this truly magical tale is brought to life on stage.

Younger visitors will enjoy a Christmas visit to ‘Wolf’, inspired by The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Presented by award-winning family theatre company Kitchen Zoo, this is a beautiful retelling of a tale you thought you knew. Under the snowy mountains, beneath the winter moon and amongst a flock of woolly sheep, Jack is bored. Bored of watching sheep, bored of counting them, really bored of sheep. Down in the village just a whisper of a wolf will cause a panic. Join us for a magical winter adventure and find out what happens when Jack cries WOLF!

This September, TBTL present ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ – an honest, uplifting and very funny play about mental health, resilience and the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love. You’re seven years old. Mum’s in hospital, and Dad says she’s ‘done something stupid’. She finds it hard to be happy. So, you start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world: 1. Ice cream, 2. Water fights, 3. Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV. Written by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, this life-affirming one-performer show is charmingly told with some help from the audience for a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

There is a rich programme of drama in both the Main House and Studio this autumn, including ‘Frankenstein’ by Titled Wig, a new story set in 1940s Europe, inspired by the classic novel. ‘Yippee Ki Yay’ is an acclaimed retelling of the classic film ‘Die Hard’ from Richard Marsh – Fringe First-winner and London poetry slam champion. ‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead’ is a powerful and joyous new production of the seminal Apartheid South African play, written by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, presented by Mast Mayflower Studios. Pepa Duarte delivers the mouth-watering flavours and aromas of traditional Peruvian cooking in her new play ‘Eating Myself’, a full sensory experience that explores womanhood, body image and tradition. The Light House, presented by Alys Williams, is a real-life story of falling in love and staying in love, even when the lights go out and you’re lost in the dark.

Family audiences are well served this autumn. ‘Mischief and Mystery in Moominvalley’ and ‘Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers’, by Get Lost in Found, are shows inspired by classic books, especially made for children aged 5+. ‘Seedheart’ by Indigo Moon Theatre is a small puppet show about big things, telling the important tale of human impact on the environment and what we can do to restore our green planet. There’s songs aplenty in ‘I Spy with My Little Eye’, based on the picture book by Steven Lee, and M6 Theatre Company present ‘Nest’, a physical show about taking care, discovering what’s important and learning how to fly.

Music fans are in for a treat with legendary performer Ralph Mctell taking to the stage on 2 October, whilst Edwina Hayes brings her mix of English folk, Americana and the rich Northern singer-songwriter tradition on 1 December. Former politician Alan Johnson tells his story from life in a post-war tenement to postman to the corridors of Westminster, and Pam Ayres performs a selection of poems and stories from her many books on 19 October.

The local Cumbrian community is the heart of TBTL and this season includes many performances from local people, including Wordsworth Grasmere’s hilarious tale of ‘The Lakers’, tourists of 1798 enjoying scenes of the grand and the sublime. Keswick Peace and Human Right Group present their new play ‘Beyond the Abyss’, and The Rotary Club of Keswick present ‘Behind the Mask’, bringing the very best of the West End and Broadway to TBTL. Keswick Theatre Club return to the stage with ‘Miss Roach’s War’, and the La’al Big Band perform ‘In The Mood’, an evening of favourites from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and more. The Anti-Racist Cumbria Summit on 2 November is the seminal social justice event in the country, a space for connecting, taking action and moving anti-racism forward in Cumbria.

Simon Stephens, Executive Director of Theatre by the Lake, comments: “In my brief time here so far, I’ve been fortunate to meet some of the amazing people connected with our theatre. If one thing is clear, it’s that TBTL holds a unique and special place at the heart of the community. We’re here to share inspiring stories from an incredible place, and it gives me great pleasure to share our exciting new season.

“In September, our new production of ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ reminds us of the unique and vital ability of theatre to bring people closer through shared experience. After opening on our main stage, we’ll be taking this powerful piece into the heart of local communities as part of a rural tour across Cumbria.

“We continue to grow our family programme, and I’m particularly looking forward to bringing my young daughter to see ‘Nest’ by the acclaimed M6 in October, one of several fantastic touring productions visiting us this year.

“This season will once again see a range of local artists and organisations take to our stages, as we continue to champion the rich breadth of creativity in the region.

“Lastly, we round off the year by making the world premiere of ‘A Little Princess’, which promises all the magic, wonder and adventure of a Theatre by the Lake Christmas. We look forward to welcoming you soon!”

Full booking information can be found at