Theatre by the Lake shortlisted for national theatre industry award for community impact
Theatre by the Lake (TBTL) has been shortlisted for The Stage Award for Community Project of the Year. The potential gong is in recognition of the theatre’s deeply impactful production of Every Brilliant Thing, for which TBTL worked in partnership with local and national charities: Every Life Matters, Papyrus and Andy’s Man Club, to raise awareness and encourage conversations around suicide and mental health, and provide support for audiences and communities.
The Stage Awards are the highest profile awards celebrating excellence in British theatre across the whole of the UK. The awards recognise excellence in British theatre and celebrate achievements in the theatre industry.
TBTL’s production of Every Brilliant Thing ran at the theatre in Keswick and toured to community spaces in isolated communities across Cumbria in September and October of this year. The play was an honest and uplifting story about resilience and love, where the performer told of his life with his mother’s suicidal depression as a backdrop. The production was particularly relevant to Cumbrian communities, with the region’s suicide rate 50% higher than the national average (Suicide Rates in England and Wales by Local Authority 2021).
Intending to have a genuine positive social impact, the production began with all TBTL staff and volunteers undertaking Suicide Awareness Training with Every Life Matters, and workshops with local community organisations: We CAN Cumbria, Always Another Way, Healthy Hopes, Happy Mum’s Foundation and Andy’s Man Club.
Alongside every performance, the theatre created a Breakout Space that was manned by a volunteer trained in suicide awareness and contained signposting materials for audiences. Each performance also offered post-show activity curated to enable reflection, connection and conversation about suicide and suicide prevention, and spilling throughout the Keswick theatre and on the Cumbrian rural tour, a dedicated exhibition of brilliant things invited audiences and communities to share their own brilliant and joyous things, offering an accessible space for interaction and reflection.
Every Brilliant Thing is a play by Bruntwood Award winning playwright Duncan Macmillan (People, Places and Things; Lungs) with actor, comedian and writer Jonny Donahoe. It was originally developed by Pentabus and Paines Plough and performed by Jonny Donahoe at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in New York and on tour across the UK. TBTL’s production was directed by Artistic Director Liz Stevenson, Designed by Alex Berry (also designer of the Every Brilliant Thing exhibition), with Lighting Design by Matt Leventhall and Sound Design by Mark Melville. It was performed by Andrew Turner.
Winners of The Stage Awards will be announced at a ceremony at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London on Monday 29 January 2024.