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Cumbrian theatre unveils £700,000 restaurant and cafe plan

A Lake District theatre has revealed plans for a £700,000 restaurant and cafe development.

Patric Gilchrist photo
Patric Gilchrist

Bosses at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick say the scheme - which it is hoped will open in summer 2014 - would support its financial stability and jobs.

The development is described as "a high quality, environmentally friendly building sympathetic to its unique lake front location and surroundings."

Architects’ plans are in their final stages and will be available for viewing before being submitted to National Park planners.

The restaurant and cafe would open all year and replace most of the existing Lakeside Tea Gardens facilities, which only operate fully on a seasonal basis.

The theatre’s executive director Patric Gilchrist said: “The development of the new restaurant and cafe is of vital importance.

"A great deal has been achieved over the years but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. This proposed development has the potential to create a more secure future for this very important regional theatre.

"In these financially difficult times it is our job to find the means to ensure that the theatre not only survives as a thriving base for professional theatre but continues its educational and outreach work with the local community.

“The theatre currently employs an average of 75 people and this development would certainly build on that figure.

"But perhaps more importantly it will ensure that the theatre can become increasingly self-sufficient at a time when the future for arts funding is uncertain."

The Arts Council England has given a £400,000 grant towards the creation of the building, which would be sited close to the theatre and recently revamped Derwentwater foreshore.

The theatre - opened in August 1999 - is owned and run by the Cumbria Theatre Trust, a registered charity.

In the last financial year, the theatre had a turnover of £3.26 million. Paid attendances at over 700 performances were 126,400, with 59 per cent of audiences (74,600) made up of residents of Cumbria and 41 per cent (51,800) visitors. In addition to its full and part-time or freelance workers, the theatre has 200 volunteers who help at performances.

Have your say

why does keswick town council still give this lot a grant every year..

Posted by patkeswick on 29 January 2013 at 22:21

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