The History of Darwen Library Theatre

Darwen Library Theatre was opened as part of Darwen Library & Theatre, May 27, 1908.  The Library & Theatre was opened by Andrew Carnegie. 

The Library & Theatre was run by the Borough of Darwen and events and activities in the Library & Theatre were overseen by the “Free Library & Museum Committee”. All sorts of events took place in the Theatre. It was used by Darwen Literary Society and a whole host of community associations and voluntary groups. All these groups had to apply to the Borough Librarian in the first instance for permission to use the Theatre…and the Library Committee approved or disapproved the application. The Huntington Lectures took place in DLT. 

During Local Government re-organisation in 1974, the Library Service became part of Lancashire County Council and activities in the Theatre were run by the Library Service, who had at that time, a Secretary (20 hours per week) to handle diary bookings plus other duties, a caretaker for the whole building and three cleaning staff. Groups such as the Blind Society, Stroke Society, Townswomen’s Guild, Business & Professional Women’s Society used the meeting rooms on a regular basis. It was very much a “community centre” during this period of time – many Annual Christmas Fairs took place and the Civic Society used the premises for their Annual Bulb Show. Darwen Arts Society held their Annual Exhibition and Darwen Library Players were in residence and the local Theatre Group. In 1989 the Royal Shakespeare Company visited and held workshops for schools. 

A Lottery bid was granted and the Theatre became a fully fledged Theatre in 2000.