Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake is getting ready to open its first Summer Season of a new decade on Saturday 29 May 2010 with two very different plays. In the Main House, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey features a 17-year-old heroine whose head is full of romance and the thrills of the Gothic novels that send shivers down her fanciful spine; the other, Shining City in the Studio, is a ghost story set in Dublin, telling of an apparently desperate struggle between the living and the dead.

Tim Luscombe has artfully adapted Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen’s first completed novel, into a play that he sums up as “Girl wants date with Boy and gets it. The date goes wrong but the Girl gets invitation to stay at an abbey. Girl nearly messes it up but gets Boy in the end”.

Luscombe uses the magic of theatre to create what the impressionable Catherine Morland imagines in the book. “Northanger Abbey has always struck me as a very theatrical novel…I wanted to exploit why audiences still love going to the theatre and what theatre is best at: transformation.”

Guest director Zoe Waterman (The Bogus Woman, 2008) returns to Theatre by the Lake. Conor McPherson's  Shining City is set in the Dublin office of therapist Ian, a place to which those wounded by life retreat to have their sorrows, hopes and sanity analysed. Widower John tells Ian that he has seen the ghost of his recently dead wife. “Her mouth is open like she was trying to…’’ But who is really haunted? And by whom, or what?

Northanger Abbey and Shining City run at the Theatre By The Lake from 29 May - 5 November.