Theatre by the Lake opened on the shores of Derwentwater in August 1999. It was willed into existence by passionate theatre lovers as a permanent replacement for the Blue Box, an extraordinary mobile theatre created after the Second World War to take plays to towns and cities with no active theatres.
It was a regular visitor to Keswick, its long convoy of wagons, including dressing rooms, bedsits and canteen, grinding up and down Lake District hills. It settled permanently in a car park in Keswick in 1975 and retired to Snibston Discovery Park in Leicestershire in 1996.
Theatre by the Lake was the last theatre to be built in Britain in the old millennium and the first to be built with the help of money from the national lottery. It has since staged more than 100 plays, commissioned new work, established a reputation for high production values and found a loyal all-year-round audience in the people of Cumbria and visitors to the Lake District.
Two books, both published by Bookcase of Carlisle, give an account of theatre in Keswick: The Blue Box – The Story of the Century Theatre 1947-83 by Alan Hankinson and Encore! Ten Years of Theatre by the Lake by David Ward. Both can be bought at the theatre.