top of page

Know your theatre:

The most beautifully-located profes-sional theatre in the UK, Theatre by the Lake traces its origin to 1948 and a team of theatre enthusiasts who created a 225-seat mobile theatre to take live performance around post-war Britain.

The convoy of trailers arrived in Keswick for the first time in 1961, but by 1975 was unfit to tour, so the company successfully took up residence by Derwentwater.

In 1996 the convoy was uprooted one last time, to be replaced by the current permanent structure, the last theatre built in Britain in the 20th Century and the first to be built – at a cost of £6.5m –with the help of the national lottery. The theatre opened in August 1999 with Charley’s Aunt.

There are two stages, a 400-seat main house with a central rake that has excellent sight lines, and a 100-seat studio. The main house is large for its seating capacity, high and wide, with a stage capable of holding big shows.

In the main house the company presents a busy programme of now mainly wide- appeal co-productions (partnering with theatres including Bolton Octagon and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough) throughout the year and a wide-ranging series of studio shows. TBTL also hosts a variety of festivals and visiting companies.

The theatre has a loyal local audience, alongside the many tourists who enjoy a night of theatre after tramping the fells.

Picture of Theatre by the Lake


Theatre by the Lake, Lakeside, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5DJ


Box Office: 017687 74411 (9.30am-7.30pm/6pm non-performance nights). Admin: 017687 72282 (9am-5pm). Catering: 017687 81102 (9am-9pm). Also available by email. The theatre is currently closed but expects to reopen in autumn 2021.


A modern theatre with modern sensibilities when it comes to loos and disabled facilities. Avoid the main theatre side seats if you can, despite their lower cost. The adjacent restaurant is open 10am-3pm daily, and a tourist attraction in itself, with views across the lake. When the theatre reopens allow plenty of time to dine as service can be slow – though there is that view to look at...


The theatre is located off Lake Road and is indicated on brown tourist signs throughout the town. Lakeside car park (Allerdale Borough Council, pay and display) is next to the theatre, and in summer gets very busy, so allow plenty of time to park. Charge is £1 from 7pm-7am. Before 7pm charges vary.

Go here and follow the booking route to your show choice. 

Online box office:

bottom of page