Where Your Money Goes

Where Your Money Goes

Theatre by the Lake is an arts and educational charity

Theatre by the Lake, Britain's most remote professional regional producing theatre, is a registered charity (Cumbria Theatre Trust, No. 516673) and a not-for-profit organisation. Our charitable purposes are to promote and advance the arts and, in particular, the performing arts for the benefit of the public and to promote and advance education through the development and delivery of creative learning programmes for people of all ages.

To view Cumbria Theatre Trust’s Annual Reports from 2011 to 2018, Click Here


Public funding from Arts Council England accounts for less than 20% of our income; we have to raise the other 80% of our income in order to deliver our charitable activities.



Where your money goes:

For every £1 you donate to Theatre by the Lake, 80.5p is spent on our charitable activities:

How your money makes a difference:

Here are just some examples of our charitable activities that your donations have helped to support:

Education: Level Up

Level Up, an innovative, inspiring and much-praised three-year project, aims each year to introduce 700 Workington children, most of whom will never have seen a play, to Theatre by the Lake. It simultaneously seeks to ease the transition from Year 6 in the primary school to Year 7 in the secondary school.

Level Up is supported by the START Programme of The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts, The Backstage Trust, the Backstage Trust, the Cooperative's north Cumbria area committee, Cumbria County Council and Workington Town Council.


On visiting the theatre:

"The play was awesome, I want to go and see this again sometime” Pupil

"‘A highlight for the children was the theatre trips. A lot of our kids haven't been to the theatre before” Teacher

On moving to secondary school:

"For our pupils, who will move from a relatively small school of 200 to a secondary school of 800, changing schools can be an incredibly intimidating experience. This sort of activity really helps.” A primary school teacher.

On taking part:

"I've never done anything like this before. I had noticed all the sounds in The Firework Maker's Daughter. If I had a chance of a job doing something like this, I'd probably take it.” Twelve-year-old boy on a sound workshop.

"I loved everything about it.” Ten-year-old pupil after the day of workshops.

Community - Calling all the Heroes

Theatre by the Lake commissioned storyteller Ian Douglas and Cap A Pie, a North Eastern theatre and film company to collaborate on a project on the Ewanrigg Estate in Maryport (West Cumbria), which has been selected by The Big Local, part of the Big Lottery Fund, as one of up to 150 communities across the country that face "many social obstacles and have a history of difficulty in obtaining resources”.

"Calling All The Heroes aims to tell local people about the Big Local programme, get people more involved in the life of the community and set them thinking about what they want for their area,” added Douglas.

‘It's a fantastic feeling to take a step beyond what you think you can do. Probably few of the residents have ever been to the theatre except the pantomime and it certainly would never have crossed our minds to make a film. It's given us confidence. We could maybe do things now that we couldn't do before. Projects like this can help people get there, help people connect so that it becomes one big happy estate, with one heart that beats'. Chair of Ewanrigg Tenants and Residents Association

Youth Company and Elders Company

Theatre by the Lake runs three Young Company groups (covering ages 7-18) as well as an Elders Company (age 55+). Both companies get the chance to play, devise and learn a variety of theatre techniques as well as come together to perform in an intergenerational production each year.

Sponsorship and donations enable us to provide subsidised places and bursaries for young people, particularly from disadvantaged areas.

Progression routes through the Arts:

Theatre by the Lake helps young people participate in the arts and supports them as they progress through vocational training to employment.

Daniel Serridge, was a member of our Youth Theatre before moving to do a degree in theatre studies at Lancaster University. In 2007, he joined Theatre by the Lake's participation team as a graduate apprentice, based in West Cumbria. "The apprenticeship helped me focus on my skills and on what I wanted to do,” he said. "I was always very interested in working with people with no experience of theatre. I knew how much effect theatre had had on me and my upbringing. The training has given me confidence to step out on my own. Before the apprenticeship, the thought of standing in front of a group, even a group of young schoolchildren, was frightening.”

Daniel then worked as a theatre practitioner at the theatre and continued to develop his interest of theatre work in community contexts. "I'm still on a journey of understanding. I still have a lot of skills to develop, to improve myself as performer and facilitator.”

After developing and delivering the theatre's acclaimed Level Up project, Daniel left the theatre in 2012 to pursue his interest further by studying for an MA at Manchester University in Community Theatre.

New Writing:

Theatre by the Lake is committed to commissioning and producing one new play each year. We work with both established and emerging writers and workshop scripts with our actors before rehearsals begin.

In 2012 Theatre by the Lake presented the world première of Richard Cameron's Roma and the Flannelettes: A Love Like Yours set in a women's refuge; it was a story filled with compassion, warmth and lots of Tamla Motown music.

"Congratulations to the Theatre for commissioning this play from Richard Cameron – to the playwright for his approach to a subject that remains one of society's few remaining taboos, domestic violence – and to Stefan Escreet and his company, for its handling of a script that brings light, shadow, humour and the expected, but never overwhelming, sadness to this production. This is a superb final Studio production of a new play that deserves a wider audience." - The Stage

Professional development of creative staff at an early stage in their careers:

Theatre by the Lake is committed to supporting and training the new generation of creative theatre people and welcomes the contribution they make to the continuing success of the organisation.

Mary Papadima chose to come to Keswick on placement from the director training course at Birkbeck, University of London. She enjoyed her time in Cumbria so much that, after graduating, she moved to Keswick and became the theatre’s Resident Director and later a freelance. She directed several plays in the Studio and An Inspector Calls, her first production in the Main House. She was appointed Theatre by the Lake’s Associate Director in June 2012 and has since directed Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa and, for the summer 2014 season, Dracula by Liz Lochhead and Old Times by Harold Pinter.

Jez Pike, another Birkbeck trainee director, came to Keswick in 2009 and worked with Artistic Director Ian Forrest on several productions. He was then invited to direct David Harrower’s Knives in Hens in the Studio. He has since directed The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute, Not About Heroes by Stephen MacDonald and, for the 2014 summer season, The Winterling by Jez Butterworth.

Designer Anna Pilcher Dunn graduated from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2013 and came to Keswick as an intern in November the same year. She worked on three productions with Resident Designer Martin Johns and was given responsibility for all three Studio plays – with three different directors - in the 2014 summer season. "My time at Theatre by the Lake was brilliant and I learned so much,” she said. "Martin left me to design the shows rather than tell me to do them in a certain way. But he was always there when I struggled with a problem. He has been the perfect mentor. To work with someone who clearly loves what he does so much has been a great experience.”