Outdoor theatre... in a cave!

Playwright Peter Macqueen sitting in a cave
Published : 24 Aug 2017

Millican Dalton was a philosopher and mountain guide who lived in a cave under Castle Crag in Borrowdale. For his 150th anniversary we’re turning his cave into a theatre for one very special day.

Exclusive performance

On Saturday the 16th September Millican Dalton’s cave will be transformed by a staging of ‘The Professor of Adventure’; the moving and funny one-man play about Millican Dalton written and performed by Peter Macqueen (pictured above).

The performance is put on by the National Trust in association with Theatre by the Lake and presenting this PMac Production, and depicts Millican as he tries to make it through a winter in the cave to escape the Blitz during the second world war.

A special anniversary tribute

Peter wrote the play inspired by this fiercely independent character, who ‘smelled like a mountain goat, chain-smoked woodbines and was the self-proclaimed inventor of shorts’.

‘I have got to know Millican Dalton pretty well over the last 18 months performing in theatres and village halls around the county and beyond', said Peter

‘But in this, his 150th anniversary year, I wanted to celebrate him in a special way. What better than to perform in his own 'Cave Hotel' under the very rock that was his roof, surrounded by the slates he sat and slept on and allow the magic of Borrowdale and the spirit of the man to do the rest’, he continued.

" A wistful, whimsical and quietly wonderful one-man show"
- British Theatre Guide

A play for the adventurous at heart

Millican Dalton being who he was, his cave isn’t conveniently close to parking and toilets, so please come prepared for an adventure yourself!

We’re grateful to our National Trust tenant farmer Gavin Fearon for allowing us to use his campsite at Hollows Farm for parking and toilets for ticket holders. Click here for directions to Hollows Farm. The address is Hollows Farm, Grange-in-Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5UQ.

The cave is ¾ mile uphill walk through the lush oakwood that cloaks the flank of Castle Crag along rough paths with tree roots with a couple of areas of exposed bedrock that need a little care to negotiate, and some steep sections. You should allow at least 30 minutes for the walk but don’t worry about finding your way – we’ll be waymarking the route clearly on the day of the performance.

Seating will be limited and basic so if you prefer comfort we ask you to bring your own camping chair.

The cave is unheated, the air temperature can be a degree or two lower inside than the outside air temperature so we recommend bringing extra layers and maybe a blanket.

You’re welcome to bring your own picnic, which you can eat outside the cave. Because Peter will have a lot of technical work to do to set up for two performances on the same day we won’t be able to allow picnics inside the cave.

How to book

Tickets for this incredibly special performance cost £20 for adults or £17 for a child ticket.

You can book tickets at Theatre by the Lake by telephoning 017687 74411 or you can book online at www.theatrebythelake.com

Actor Peter Macqueen dressed as Millican Dalton

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