Theatre by the Lake is relishing some of the most exciting challenges in its 12-year history as it begins work on its Christmas 2011 production of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, a play based on an inspiring and exotic story by Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy.

The play makes few concessions in its design demands. “It’s one of those scripts where you turn the page and go ‘Oh my God’, said Martin Johns, the theatre’s Head of Design.

But Johns, who has designed more than 60 of Theatre by the Lake’s productions, is used to working wonders – he has previously produced a flying carpet and a hot air balloon – and The Firework-Maker’s Daughter promises to be exciting, colourful, touching and funny. It will be the latest in the great tradition of magical Christmas shows at Theatre by the Lake.
 
The Firework-Maker’s Daughter is set in Indonesia and tells of Lila’s epic journey to discover the secrets of firework-making and much more. Lila treks across mountains, tangles with treacherous pirates, outwits a cruel king and finally confronts the dreadful Fire-Fiend.

Pullman writes: “I always loved the names they give fireworks - Incandescent Fountain, Golden Vesuvius and so on - and I began by making up a story that could have a lot of firework names in it. I also liked the idea of a white elephant being covered in graffiti. The whole story just grew out of those things, but I do think that what it says about the Three Gifts that Lila has to bring to Razvani, the Fire-Fiend, is true and important.”

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter is directed by Stefan Escreet and designed by Martin Johns and runs at the Theatre-By-The-Lake, Keswick from 26 November - 7 January.