Theatre by the Lake Volunteer Project

Talking Tales trained eight young people to interview volunteers who have spent over 50 years creating and supporting the Theatre by the Lake.

Friends of Theatre by the Lake are one of the largest friends groups in Britain and have raised over £430,000 since the theatre’s foundation in 1999. They led a year-long oral history project, called Talking Tales, which focused on the role volunteers played over the last 50 years in developing the Lake District theatre. The project covered the travelling ‘Blue Box’ theatre, which spent 20 years in a Keswick car park having failed its MOT, through to the first professional theatre built with National Lottery funding. These stories had never previously been recorded and were in great danger of becoming lost forever.

Talking Tales trained eight young people (aged 12-17) in interviewing skills, providing an accredited qualification through the Arts Award scheme. Over fifty oral histories were collected, which were subsequently used to create an online archive, exhibition, documentary film and schools resource pack to coincide with the theatre’s 15th anniversary.

Jenn Mattinson, Theatre by the Lake’s Creative Practitioner, was employed to develop and deliver the project. She said: “the greatest part of Talking Tales has been the community engagement, working with a range of ages in lots of different ways.   People have been given the opportunity to enhance that all important life skill: communicating across the generations.” 

Keep up-to-date with the Taking Tales blog.

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