The Theatre by the Lake’s entire 2020 summer season – due to open next month and run for nearly half the year – has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
People who have already bought tickets for any of the five stage productions scheduled between 21st May and 31st October are being asked to help the theatre by donating the money to it rather than seeking a refund.
Keswick’s theatre has been closed since Tuesday 17th March following government advice and because of uncertainty around when it can re-open, bosses say they took the “difficult decision” to abandon their summer plans as they were unable to commit to the significant costs of its rep season.
The series of productions which had been scheduled to be staged there across more than five months included an unprecedented four world premieres: The Climbers by Carmen Nasr, Wilt by Kieran Knowles, These Walls by Laura Lomas and Drown Your Empty Selves by Joseph Wilde.
Liz Stevenson, the theatre’s artistic director, said: “This was an upsetting decision to make but the only option available to us in the current circumstances. The considerable work needed to prepare for our celebrated and complex rep season, together with the significant costs involved, presents too great a risk during a time of such huge upheaval and uncertainty.
“Our ultimate aim is to ensure that we continue to be Cumbria’s producing theatre. We’re asking ticket holders to donate the cost of their ticket to support the theatre at this time and are so grateful to the many people who have already done so – especially as we are aware that this is a difficult time for so many.”
In a personal message to the theatre’s customers, she added: “We’re looking forward to welcoming you back just as soon as we can and we are working out creative ways of working with you, our community, until then. We wish everyone well in the meantime; look after yourselves and each other.”
With the theatre closed, ticket requests cannot be processed until the box office has reopened, although urgent enquiries are being monitored by staff via [email protected] Online donations for anyone who wishes to support the theatre can be made at www.theatrebythelake.com/donate