News Article

14th Sep 2020

Theatre by the Lake to support live broadcast of Wise Children

On 14 September 2020

Following the cancellation of Theatre by the Lake’s Spring co-production with Wise Children of Malory Towers (a project the theatre still hopes to revive at some point after its reopening), it’s teaming up with Wise Children once again to support their live broadcast of Romantics Anonymous.

Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and Plush Theatricals announced that Emma Rice’s critically-acclaimed musical adaptation of Romantics Anonymous will be performed at Bristol Old Vic, and broadcast live, direct to audience’s homes nationally and globally.

The show will be available to stream as a ‘digital tour’ between Tue 22 and Sat 26 September, following the cancellation of its US tour due to Covid-19.  In a wonderful act of industry solidarity, partner theatres across the world will sell tickets for different nights of the week.  Each night will be tailored to audiences in different parts of the world, and there’ll be a sprinkle of local flavour added before each stream begins.  Theatre by the Lake’s broadcast as part of Scotland and the North's performance is on Tue 22 September at 7.30pm. 

Other partner theatres include Belgrade Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, Bristol Old Vic, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Derby Theatre, Eden Court Higlands, Exeter Northcott, HOME, Lighthouse Poole, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Marlowe Theatre, New Zealand Festival, Norwich Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, Roay & Derngate, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Storyhouse, The Festival Theatre, The Lowry, The Old Vic (where Wise Children are a Company in Residence), Theatr Clwyd, Theatre Royal Bath, Theatre Royal Nottingham, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, York Theatre Royal.

The world premiere of Romantics Anonymous was originally produced by Shakespeare’s Globe for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment

Add a few ingredients
Bold and brave and new
Don’t you love how chocolate is so unlike you?
Angélique is a gifted chocolate maker crippled by social anxiety and Jean-René is the boss of a failing chocolate factory. Angélique is so timid, she faints when people look at her; Jean-René so awkward he relies on self-help tapes and is prone to embarrassing sweating. When Angélique takes a job in Jean-René’s struggling factory, a fragile love affair unfolds. 
Funny, tender and painfully awkward, Romantics Anonymous is a delicious love story about breaking the mould and finding the courage to be happy.

Many of the cast will be reprising their roles. Following approved sport and film production guidance, the company will each have a coronavirus test before forming a bubble in Bristol. These rigorous measures mean that they will be able to perform the entire show without social distancing.

Emma Ricesaid, "I have devoted my life to the live experience and the collective imagination – things that have proved impossible over the last few months. Whilst nothing will be able to replace the thrill of a night out at the theatre, this live broadcast is going to be as close to that delicious experience as we can possibly make it! Live, fresh, fun and intimate, this will remind us of what it is to share stories, hear music and, if true love has its way, even kiss. Imagine that! We are taking the utmost care to protect all of our valued team and, for one week only, we can all experience a live performance again, get lost in a wonderful love story and remember what it was to be socially intimate!

Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, Tom Morris added "Theatre has to reinvent itself in order to survive. That’s always true, of course, and one of the great pioneers of theatrical reinvention over the last 20 years has been Emma Rice. And now she’s at it again. A purely live fully streamed full scale musical for a live audience sitting at home all over the world. It’s so bold it turns your mind into a honeycomb. We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be hosting the experiment in our beautiful theatre, and there is no company more suited to rekindle the fire of live performance that inspires us all than Wise Children.”

Captioned and audio-described versions of the production will be available.

Theatre by the Lake will receive a proportion of the income raised via their booking channel which will help support the venue’s reopening, therefore are encouraging audiences and supporters to promote the show amongst their contacts. 

Tickets must be booked online at 

Notes to editors

A Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic & Plush Theatricals production
Book by Emma Rice
Lyrics by Christopher Dimond
Music by Michael Kooman
Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband
Directed by Emma Rice

About Theatre by the Lake
Theatre by the Lake, hailed by The Independent as 'the most beautifully located and friendly theatre in Britain', opened in 1999. It is a short stroll from Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, amid the magnificent western fells of the Lake District, which has recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The theatre has two stages, a 400-seat Main House and 100-seat Studio, and presents up to nine of its own productions throughout the year as well as hosting a variety of festivals and visiting companies, playing to over 125,000 people per year. Led by Artistic Director Liz Stevenson and Executive Director James Cobbold, Theatre by the Lake is the only Arts Council funded producing theatre in Cumbria, generating a further £2.5m through sales and fundraising each year to support work onstage and the provision of inspiring community engagement programmes for people of all ages.  For five years running it has been voted the Most Welcoming Theatre in the North West in the UK Theatre Awards. Theatre by the Lake (as Cumbria Theatre Trust) is a registered charity, number 516673.

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About Wise Children
Created and led by Emma Rice, Wise Children launched in April 2018 and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Based in Bristol, they make ground-breaking work with exceptional artists, and tour it across the world. Alongside shows, Wise Children run a unique professional development programme, The School for Wise Children, training a new and more diverse generation of theatre practitioners.
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Twitter: @Wise_Children
Instagram: @Wise_Children
Facebook: @WiseChildrenCompany

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