One of the last drive-in movie theaters in the country is located right across the street from the Weirs Beach sign. Opened in 1949, the Weirs Beach Drive-In Theater (603) 366-4723, has four screens, each showing a double feature, with the first movie starting at dusk.

The neon sign at the Weirs Drive-In.

The year 2021 saw the opening of not one, not two, but THREE new theaters in Laconia! First, there was the restored Colonial Theatre. Second, there was the restored Lakeport Opera House (click on the link for the history of the Lakeport Opera House and Lakeport Square.) Finally, there was the brand new CAKE theatre, the home venue of Recycled Percussion. CAKE stands for the Chaos And Kindness Experience.

The Lakeport Opera House

The Colonial Theatre

The CAKE Theatre

Dramatic Arts in the Weirs Beach area

Nearby to Weirs Beach, in Meredith, is the Winnipesaukee Playhouse (603) 279-0333. The playhouse is a year-round, family-run theater dedicated to bringing quality arts and entertainment to the Lakes Region. They aim to provide a fun and challenging theatrical environment for all Lakes Region locals and visitors in both performance-based and educational arenas. Whether your interest is to be onstage, behind-the-scenes, or in the audience, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse has something for you! The Winnipesaukee Playhouse began operations in 2004 at the Alpenrose Plaza in Weirs Beach with an 84-seat facility, then moved to Meredith in 2013 to its current, 195-seat theater.

The Interlakes Theatre, also based in Meredith, began in 2008, and advertises itself as “Broadway in the Lakes Region”. Shows take place at the 428-seat Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium. This year’s (2023), 15th anniversary program includes 4 big musicals.

The One Light Theatre Company, a community theatre company based in Laconia, produces full-scale productions and educational shows at various venues. Since its establishment in 2016, the Company has produced 25 shows. Click on the link for this season’s schedule.

Another community theatre company based in Laconia is the Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative, which stages dramatic productions at the Colonial Theatre and the Belknap Mill.


The Weirs Beach Drive-in, in 1975. The nearby orange-roofed Howard Johnson’s restaurant burned on October 7, 1984 and is now the site of the Faro Italian Grill.

Below, a circa 1960 aerial view of Weirs Beach showing the Drive-in and the Weirs Channel.


The Colonial Theatre on Main Street in downtown Laconia opened in 1914 with 1200 seats. Live performances were only a memory by the 1960s, when it had become a single-screen movie palace. The webmaster attended many movies here, and fondly recalls the beautiful illumination by glowing purple nightlights. In 1983, the grand interior was subdivided into a 5-screen multiplex cinema. The movie theater closed in 2002. Previous efforts to restore the theater fell short. However, in June 2015, it was announced that the theater would finally be restored to its former glory. The restoration was completed in 2021. Nationally, many Main Streets have been revitalized by the renovation of their old theaters, as a NY Times article points out. The League of Historic American Theaters assists many of these restoration efforts.

There remains a second, smaller theater in downtown Laconia, located right across the street from the Colonial, that has not been restored. It was called the Gardens Theater. Click for photos and info about the Gardens Theater.

Interior of the Colonial Theatre. From a postcard postmarked in 1918.


The Lakes Region Playhouse was the premier “summer stock” theater in the area in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s. The theater was located at the corner of Routes 11 and 11B in Gilford. Click here for a history of the Lakes Region Playhouse and various memorabilia.