Six plays set for Keswick theatre’s 16th summer season

Preview by Rachael Grealish

Theatre by the Lake Cast arrival

REHEARSALS are well under way as a Lakes theatre prepares to stage six plays across its famous summer season.

Theatre by the Lake, in Keswick, has 14 actors – seven women and seven men – rehearsing in preparation for the 16th full summer season since the theatre opened in 1999.

Each actor will appear in three of the six plays to be staged between the end of May and early November.

The theatre’s Rachel Swift said: “We think we have come up with a fine collection of contrasting plays for the 2016 Summer Season.

“There are plays to make our audiences laugh, to send shivers down their spines and to make them think. It’s a perfect mix.”

The 2016 company includes familiar faces from previous seasons, plus five actors who will be appearing at the Theatre by the Lake for the first time.

The Main House stages a mad farce, a famous thriller and a classic 18th Century comedy.

In the Studio, two plays by two of Britain’s finest writers sandwich a great Greek tragedy written 2500 years ago.

Artistic director Ian Forrest, now in his final year at Theatre by the Lake, directs Watch It, Sailor! by Philip King, and Falkland Cary, and The Rivals, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Former associate director Mary Papadima is incorporating her knowledge of Greek theatre and also directs Iron by Rona Munro; and two returning freelance directors, Sara Punshon and Zoë Waterman, take on Dial M for Murder by Frederick Knott and The Vertical Hour by David Hare.

Manchester-based Alex Phelps arrived in Keswick for his first season “with a huge mix of nerves and excitement”.

He appears in The Vertical Hour, Elektra and The Rivals, and he said: “I’m still getting used to the idea that after two weeks of rehearsals on one play, I’ll start work on another one.

“But I’m quite a focused person so I think I’ll be able to juggle the three. My one concern is being on stage for one play and saying the lines from another.”

Alex camped with his girlfriend in the Lake District last year and was driven into a river by an angry territorial goose that objected to visitors.

He added: “Little did I think that exactly a year later I would now be living here. I just hope I don’t see the same goose.”

The Theatre by the Lake’s 16th full summer season is due to start in May and runs until November.

Details and tickets for each play, as well as season passes, are available from the box office.