Lamb's Players grew out of a drama class project at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN taught by Steve Terrell. The company was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1971 by Terrell, his wife Elsa, and a former student, Glen “Herbie” Hansen. The small troupe put together a Street Theatre production called “The Hound of Everyman”, a contemporary comedy that used the form and costumes of the medieval morality plays, which they presented outdoors on college campuses and at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.
Realizing that the season for Street Theatre was rather limited in Minnesota, in 1972 Steve and Elsa Terrell, Herbie and Bernelle Hansen, and Bernie and Nancy Boyd decided to move to Southern California where Terrell had grown up. The Terrells purchased a home in San Diego where the young troupe rehearsed in the front yard and built sets and props in the back. That year Chris Turner (LAMB'S current Art Director) joined the company.
The growing organization then moved into a former machine shop in El Cajon, adding other touring troupes alongside the Street Theatre, including mime “Hands & Feet,” puppets for adults “Quimby Company,” a Dance Company and a juggling and magic act, “The Third Hand.” The organization built a reputation for high quality, fast-paced humor, and physical dexterity touring nationwide to college campuses, prisons, churches and Renaissance Faires.
In 1976 Kerry Meads joined the company as a Street Theatre performer, planning to stay for 2 years. Robert Smyth also joined that year with a vision to build a resident repertory company based on the European ensemble model and in 1978 Lamb’s Players Theatre, the organization's first resident theatre was opened in a renovated church building in National City. In 1979 Deborah Gilmour Smyth was the first performer hired for the resident acting company.
In 1981, Steve Terrell retired from the company and moved his family north to Sonora. Leadership moved to Robert Smyth as Artistic Director and David McFadzean as Managing Director and President. In 1985 McFadzean left Lamb's to teach at the college level (eventually becoming a television writer and producer, and co-creator of ABC’s ‘Home Improvement’). Smyth became the company's Producing Artistic Director and under his leadership Lamb’s Players would grow to become San Diego's third largest professional theatre.
In 1986 Lamb’s ended 15 years of touring Street Theatre and began an Education Outreach troupe touring to schools throughout Southern California. Now called "The Road Crew," this team uses the energy and engagement of live theatre to address critical student issues like bullying, conflict resolution, team work, and the joy of learning.
In 1990 Lamb's also began producing regularly at the Lyceum Theatres in San Diego's Horton Plaza. In 1993 Lamb's discovered the long-disused performance space inside Coronado's 1917 Spreckels Building. The company launched a 3 million dollar capital campaign to refresh the space and bring it back to its original intended use as a live theatre.
In 1994 Lamb's Players Theatre opened as the company's new resident theatre in the charming beach-side community of Coronado.