A Keswick theatre and major arts centre in Cumbria has revealed it will be shedding dozens of staff due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

Theatre By The Lakes (TBTL) has confirmed 38 staff will be made redundant, following a consultation process lasting two months.

Changes to the Government’s furlough scheme, alongside new social distancing restrictions, have necessitated 'difficult decisions' and 'decisive action to reduce expenditure,' according to the theatre.

Its artistic director, Liz Stevenson, and executive director, James Cobbold, said yesterday: “We deeply regret every job loss, but these actions are necessary to ensure TBTL successfully reopens in 2021 and continues to serve its community and audiences.

This has been a very difficult process for everyone involved but a reality of the situation that many theatres currently face.”

The theatre says it is now looking ahead to the future and its reopening, whereupon it believes it would be able to increase staffing levels.

For now, a 'mobilisation team' of 12 staff members will plan for the permanent re-opening of the theatre in 2021.

In the meantime, this reduced team will seek new ways to entertain audiences, while creatively engaging with and supporting communities.

The theatre also announced it has so far raised nearly £90,000 to help fund its reopening - largely raised through one-off donations from supporters, as well as customers with bookings for 2020’s cancelled shows converting their tickets into donations.

Commenting on the donations TBTL has received thus far, Ms Stevenson and Mr Cobbold said: "We’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far.

"The show of support has been overwhelming and the number of people who have got in touch to offer to help is simply wonderful.”

The theatre has created a JustGiving page for the appeal, where members of the public can donate the cost of a ticket to support the TBTL.

A further fundraising campaign is being planned to help fund the project reopening costs.

TBLT has advised that, although a reopening date has not yet been set, it is unlikely to be before next year.

Theatre by the Lake has recently been awarded a grant from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund to provide essential support to the charity in order to withstand the immediate fallout from the Covid-19 crisis and help ensure its survival.

Additionally, the TBLT team has said it will apply for the Government’s £1.57bn package of support to the arts, culture and heritage sector to support the reopening plans.

To find out more about TBLT's fundraising appeal and to donate, visit: www.theatrebythelake.com/donate.