On 19 August Theatre by the Lake celebrates its 20th anniversary. This year’s celebrations will be marked by another milestone, as the Theatre’s long-standing Joint Chair, Graham Lamont and Vicky Robinson MBE, both stand down from their voluntary roles after a remarkable 25 years’ service.
Graham and Vicky’s involvement with theatre in Keswick began with Century Theatre, the company that brought the Blue Box to countless towns the length and breadth of the country, and which finally came to rest in Lakeside Car Park. In 1993, Graham, the unpaid Finance Director of Century Theatre since 1984 and Chief Executive of accountancy firm Lamont Pridmore, and Vicky, a local hotelier and passionate advocate for the arts, were appointed Joint Chair of Century Theatre and Cumbria Theatre Trust. Together, they led the campaign to build a permanent theatre in Keswick, achieving the launch of Theatre by the Lake in 1999.
Today, Theatre by the Lake has been established as an important part of the UK regional theatre scene and a major attraction for both Cumbrian residents and visitors to the Lake District, generating a turnover of £3m, employing 40 full time employees, presenting over 600 events and performances across two stages and attracting audiences of over 100,000 people annually.
Vicky Robinson and Graham Lamont said: “We have always shared a clear vision of a new theatre for Keswick. We have planned for our succession, wishing to ensure the continued success of Theatre by the Lake. We feel now with 25 years as Joint Chair and the 20th celebration of the opening of Theatre by the Lake, it is a wonderful time to pass the baton with confidence that the theatre will continue to be treasured and successful. We can now reflect with pleasure on the privilege it has been to lead Cumbria Theatre Trust, and to achieve the building of a new theatre for the communities of and visitors to Keswick. A theatre to celebrate the inspirational heritage of Cumbria. We are very happy to have played a part in turning the dream of a new theatre for Keswick into a reality.”
From 19 August 2019, Charles Carter will be Chair of Cumbria Theatre Trust, supported by Kate McLaughlin-Flynn in the role of Vice Chair. Charles has a background in management consultancy whilst Kate is the University of Cumbria’s Director of Finance and Resources.
Charles Carter said: “Without Graham and Vicky, Theatre by the Lake would simply not exist. Their vision for the new theatre, rooted in their long-standing involvement with the Blue Box, was essential to creating and developing a thriving organisation that is treasured by communities and audiences across Cumbria, and the country. Their vision, relentless dedication, contagious enthusiasm and tireless advocacy have been crucial to the theatre’s creation, its reputation and provides a strong foundation for its future success. We are immensely grateful for all of their dedication and achievements.”
Charles Carter has a background in management consultancy; a partner in an international firm working with major companies and government departments, he delivered projects to resolve strategy and operations issues before retiring early to work predominantly with small businesses that specialise in IT, HR and the media. He’s been a charity trustee, school governor and a non-executive director of a hospital trust. Brought up in the North East, he’s been a regular visitor to Cumbria since his childhood, but developed a close association with the area after meeting his wife in the early 80s and whose family moved to Ullswater. Together with his wife, they split their time between London – where he still works part-time – and his house in the Newlands Valley, which they built nearly 10 years ago. He’s a passionate advocate for the arts and is greatly looking forward to this new challenge.
Kate McLaughlin-Flynn has been a lifelong visitor to the theatre, from her early experiences of local theatre, to West End productions. Since living locally, she’s enjoyed regular visits to Keswick to watch Theatre by the Lake’s productions and has quickly become a passionate advocate for the venue. With a background in sciences and biophysics, Kate went on to train as an accountant and has worked for over 20 years in the public sector. She currently works at the University of Cumbria as their Director of Finance and Resources. Over the course of her career, she has gained a broad range of knowledge and practical experience including finance, governance, estates and business planning.
Graham and Vicky’s contribution to the Trust will be celebrated with invited guests at an event on 18 August.