New takes on classics in Theatre by the Lake’s Spring-Summer programme for 2024
Mon 13 Nov 2023

New takes on classics in Theatre by the Lake’s Spring-Summer programme for 2024

• Hit musical Little Shop of Horrors sure to thrill audiences at Easter

• A new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey from Zoe Cooper

• Defiant Brassed Off highlights the relevance to today’s cost of living crisis

• The Hound of the Baskervilles gets a spectacularly theatrical comedy makeover


Cumbria’s professional producing theatre, Theatre by the Lake (TBTL), today announces an eclectic mix of musicals, comedies, northern stories and new adaptations of classic literature for its programme covering Spring-Summer 2024. TBTL continues its relationships with other leading theatres and artists across the country, bringing exciting new collaborations and opportunities for audiences in Keswick.


The season begins with mean green monster musical Little Shop of Horrors. Weedy flower shop assistant Seymour is down on his luck until he stumbles across a mysterious plant with killer potential. Will fame and fortune help to win the girl of his dreams, or will the plant’s appetite get out of control? Filled with hilarity and incredible rock music, Little Shop of Horrors is presented in a coproduction from Theatre by the Lake, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Hull Truck Theatre and New Wolsey Theatre and will be directed by Lotte Wakeham, who’s last TBTL production was One Man, Two Guvnors. It runs at TBTL Wednesday 27 March – Saturday 20 April.


Jane Austen’s coming of age story Northanger Abbey gets a new take from writer Zoe Cooper. Catherine Morland knows little of the world, but who needs real life experience when you have novels? When she meets worldly sophisticated Isabella Thorpe her very own adventure begins. Directed by Tessa Walker, Northanger Abbey is a coproduction from Theatre by the Lake, Orange Tree Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Stephen Joseph Theatre and runs at TBTL Saturday 27 April – Friday 17 May.


TBTL Artistic Director and Joint CEO Liz Stevenson directs Northern classic Brassed Off. Brass runs in Shane’s family, and in the midst of yet another cost of living crisis he looks back on the last great battle for the local pit and the defiant glory of Grimley Colliery Band. Based on the smash hit film and featuring local brass bands, Brassed Off is full of grit, heart and northern humour. It runs at TBTL Friday 28 June – Saturday 27 July in a coproduction from Theatre by the Lake, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Stephen Joseph Theatre.


Theatre by the Lake presents Peepolykus’s adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, directed by Peepolykus’s John Nicholson. The world’s most famous detective gets a hilarious makeover in this spectacularly theatrical comedy. A terrible murder, a terrifying curse, a killer on the loose and a gigantic beast on the moor; this sounds like a case for Sherlock Holmes! This West End hit adaptation takes all the familiar elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale through an exhilarating ride of ridiculously funny performances witty dialogue and buckets of chaos. The Hound of the Baskervilles runs Friday 9 August – Saturday 7 September.


Elsewhere in the season, Tilted Wig and Malvern Theatres open their 2024 tour of The School for Scandal at Theatre by the Lake. Deliciously naughty and outrageously silly, this timeless comedy is a masterclass in social satire and the art of gossip. Sir Peter Teazle believes his young wife is sleeping with someone else. She isn’t. But she’s starting to think if her husband believes it, she may as well give it a go. The School for Scandal runs at TBTL Thursday 7 – Saturday 16 March.


Last but certainly not least, Christmas 2024 is on sale now. Featuring loveable characters, catchy songs and charming puppetry, Jessica Swale’s adaptation of The Jungle Book is a high flying adventure for children ages 6+ and their families. Raised in the Indian jungle, Mowgli the man cub spends his boyhood days running wild with his wolf friends. When he finds himself confronted by the evil tiger Shere Khan he must learn the law of the jungle and discover who he truly is to escape the tiger’s jaws. Directed by Kash Arshad, The Jungle Book runs Friday 15 November 2024 – Sunday 5 January 2025.


Artistic Director and Joint CEO Liz Stevenson commented: “This summer was a real boost for us with audiences returning for packed-out performances and filling the theatre with that infectious buzz and excitement, and so I’m really thrilled to announce this fantastic programme for Spring and Summer 2024, with a great mix of fun and innovative shows.

August 2024 is also Theatre by the Lake’s 25th anniversary and we’re planning an exciting and vibrant programme to mark the event, which we’ll be announcing soon. While we celebrate our origins as the Blue Box, our star-studded grand opening in 1999 and everything TBTL has achieved in the last quarter century, we’ll also be looking to the next 25 years and what our audiences and communities across Cumbria would like to see, and can look forward to, from TBTL in the future.”


Alongside its programme of drama, TBTL continues to present an eclectic mix of family performances, music, festivals, creative opportunities and exhibitions throughout the year. TBTL is also proud to showcase local talent with community organisations covering musicians, choirs and theatre enthusiasts treading its boards.

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