Four Cumbrian writers have been selected to create short plays for a project being jointly run by Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake and acclaimed new writing company Paines Plough.
Daneka Etchells, Matt Sowerby, Nina Berry and Imogen Barnfather have been working with staff at Paines Plough and the lakeside theatre on developing their scripts for the plays about the places they call home as part of the ‘Come to Where I Am’ project. They were selected from more than 75 applications from local writers following a call out from Theatre by the Lake in April.
In response to a rapidly changing world, in which all touring and live performance is currently on pause, Paines Plough launched ‘Come to Where I Am’ as a spin-off series of an existing company project called ‘Come To Where I’m From’ which has so far commissioned more than 160er existing short plays over the past 10 years.
Each writer has performed and filmed their play, and these will be released via Paines Plough and Theatre by the Lake’s social media channels on Wednesday 1st July. The plays will also be performed in person when Theatre by the Lake reopens.
In addition to the plays being available online for anyone to enjoy, Paines Plough will also create a unique live performance of each one over the phone, allowing isolated audience groups to access on-demand culture. The company will be working in collaboration with celebrated actors to provide this caller service including David Bradley, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Sally Dynevor – with more still to be announced.
Writer and actor Daneka Etchells said: “Working in the arts, stories about my home are very, very few and far between – that’s why I wanted to get involved in this project. I’m extremely proud to be Cumbrian and champion it whenever I can. I’m determined to ensure that my county is put properly on the map and has its identity heard. Plus, I’ve never heard of a play, tv show or film in my entire life set in Carlisle!”
Theatre by the Lake’s artistic director Liz Stevenson said: “We were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions we received in response to our call out for local writers: there’s a lot of talent in the county! So selecting four writers was a difficult task, but we are thrilled with their plays and look forward to sharing them online with our audiences on 1 July. We hope everyone enjoys them. We also can’t wait for them to be performed live for our audiences when the building re-opens.”
As well as Theatre by the Lake, Paines Plough is partnering with Derby Theatre, Eastern Angles, Open Clasp Theatre Company Newcastle, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Reading Rep Theatre, and Sheffield Theatres to co-commission 30 new short plays.
For information on how to support Theatre by the Lake, visit www.theatrebythelake.com/donate.