About us

Shaftesbury Arts Centre is a non-political charitable company limited by guarantee, run wholly by volunteers drawn from its membership.

Our purpose is in our mission statement:

‘Shaftesbury Arts Centre aims to take the lead in seeking to optimise opportunities for the community of Shaftesbury and the surrounding area to experience and take part in the highest standard of the widest range of the creative arts.'
Established in 1957 in the old covered market in the centre of the medieval Dorset hilltop market town of Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Arts Centre is now widely recognised as one of the best volunteer membership-led arts centres in South West England.

Our regular, varied and lively year-round programme of amateur and professional plays, films, art, photography and craft exhibitions, workshops, and training courses draws people from far and wide including Wiltshire and Somerset. It is also increasingly taking the arts out into the community.

Finance & Funding
The Centre breaks even on its operational activities but because it receives very little public subsidy it relies on internal fundraising and the generosity of our patrons, sponsors and supporters to help fund major capital projects that keep the centre running and developing.

In recent years the following funding bodies, trusts, local organisations and companies have directly contributed to the fundraising efforts at the Centre: Rutters Solicitors, Philip Proctor & Associates, Shaftesbury Town Council, Hall & Woodhouse, Shaftesbury Charitable Trust, Shaftesbury Rotary Club, Shaftesbury Trinity Trust, Valentine Charitable Trust, Joyce Fletcher Charitable Trust, William Williams Charity, Foyle Foundation, Donhead Art Group, Melbury Abbas & Cann Women’s Institute, Shaftesbury & District Chamber of Commerce, Shaftesbury Carnival Committee, Shaftesbury Flower Arranging Group, United Churches Charities Fund, Barkshire Trust, IR Gift Aid Scheme, Swans Trust, Waitrose Ltd.

History
Founded in 1957 out of the Shaftesbury & District Arts Club started in 1949, Shaftesbury Arts Centre celebrated its half-century in 2007, and sixty years in 2017. It has been in continuous use throughout that period with the exception of a short break between 1965-67 when it was rebuilt after a fire.

Status
The Centre changed status in 2005 after 48 years as a voluntary association to become a not-for-profit limited company with charitable status - i.e. a charitable company - with the principal aim of improving its viability and efficiency and to meet the creative challenges of the 21st century.

Membership
Current members come from a wide area from every part of the community and from all socio-economic groups and surveys have shown the Centre is well liked and supported by them. Largely for these reasons the Centre was described by one Shaftesbury councillor in 2005 as ‘easily one of the most significant community groups in Shaftesbury’. Membership has remained steady, with a regular turnover of new members replacing those who have not renewed.

Purpose and Vision
The purpose of the arts centre remains basically the same today as when the centre was first established and as expressed in its constitution, namely ‘to promote, maintain, improve and advance the education of the public in the arts and science of music, opera, ballet, drama, film, photography, literature, painting, drawing and sculpture by the presentation of concerts, performances, exhibitions and other activities.’

In 2004, following the South West Arts Marketing report, this was refined by the then-management committee into a new ‘mission statement’ thus: ‘The mission of Shaftesbury Arts Centre is to secure for the Shaftesbury district community opportunities to experience and take part in high standard and diverse creative arts.’

In 2005 these aspirations were further revised on the recommendation of a special strategy working group to take account of the changing economic, political, social and cultural situation locally and encapsulated in the following, and still current, vision for the next 10 years: ‘Shaftesbury Arts Centre will take the lead in seeking to optimise opportunities for the community of Shaftesbury and the surrounding area to experience and take part in a high standard of the widest range of the creative arts.'

Forward strategy
The 2005 strategy working group produced a forward-planning document called 'The Way Ahead' that set out the plans and aspiration of the centre for the next ten years, up to 2015. The document was reviewed and updated in 2009 and a revised document adopted by the membership at the Centre's annual general meeting in February 2010.

For a copy of 'The Way Ahead: Development Strategy 2005-2015 (revised 2014)' click here.

Management structure
The Centre was incorporated as a charitable company limited by guarantee in 2005 replacing the association that ran it up to that point. However it remains managed and run by unpaid volunteers drawn from its membership as before.

The membership elects trustee-directors of the charitable company who are responsible for meeting the requirements of Companies Acts and the Charity Commission and form the management Board of the company. Presently the Board consists of a total of up to 12 trustee-directors, including a chairman, vice-chairman, company secretary, and honorary treasurer. All directors, including officers, are appointed to take responsibility for one or more of the centre’s activities (see below).

Officers & Directors
The officers and directors of Shaftesbury Arts Centre and their responsibilities can be found here.

The Board also sends a Board representative to meetings of Shaftesbury & District Chamber of Commerce, Shaftesbury & District Tourism Association and the Shaftesbury Community Partnership (Shaftesbury District Task Force Ltd).

Minutes of the Board Meetings can be downloaded here.

For a complete copy of Shaftesbury Arts Centre's Memorandum & Articles of Association please click here.

Contact details
You can contact any of the Board Directors with any questions or queries, or comments here.

Twitter

When you dig up broken crocks in the garden and use them for a mosaic windowsill or use scrap wire to create a penny farthing; the ingenuity given to the INSIDE/OUTSIDE competition. These from Julie, Keith, Leslie and Lucy. #upcycling #drawing #painting http://ow.ly/cbcz50zWwvJ

Did you hear the conversation on 1st June on This is Alfred about the history of Shaftesbury Arts Centre? Then have a look at http://ow.ly/M1im50zX8Cf and find out more!

A Phoenix from the Ashes:The Story of The Old Marketplace Theatre and The Shaftesbury Arts Centre.

Two by Two exhibition should have been entering their final week in the Gallery today. Here is the last slide show of the work from Sandy Roberts, Jane Shepherd, Janet Parker-Laird and Sallyrose Dhuev. @dorsetartweeks @shaftesburytown #artinlockdowneasing http://ow.ly/wS1y50zWvt4

Views through in watercolour, abstract symbols and cyanotype feather add to the variety from the adult artists Jane, J. Mason, Jonathon and Jo in the online art competition. @shaftesburytown #roomwithaview #glasshouse #futurism #cyanotype #insideoutside http://ow.ly/GG3w50zWvYQ

Have a listen to our first short story - 'A reserved seat' by Jenny Parker, - our Chairman.

If you have a story to submit, then take a look at our website below to find out how!

http://ow.ly/illT50zUNQ0

#shaftesbury #dorset #somethingforeveryone

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  • When you dig up broken crocks in the garden and use them for a mosaic windowsill or use scrap wire to create a penny farthing; the ingenuity given to the INSIDE/OUTSIDE competition. These from Julie, Keith, Leslie and Lucy. #upcycling #drawing #painting http://ow.ly/fXsQ50zWwvL

    shaftesburyarts: "When you dig up broken crocks in the garden and use them for a mosaic windowsill or use scrap wire to create a penny farthing; the ingenuity given to the INSIDE/OUTSIDE competition. These from Julie, Keith, Leslie and Lucy.  #upcycling #drawing #painting http://ow.ly/fXsQ50zWwvL"
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  • Did you hear the conversation on 1st June on This is Alfred about the history of Shaftesbury Arts Centre? Then have a look at http://ow.ly/8TXh50zX8Cg and find out more! A Phoenix from the Ashes:The Story of The Old Marketplace Theatre and The Shaftesbury Arts Centre.

    shaftesburyarts: "Did you hear the conversation on 1st June on This is Alfred about the history of Shaftesbury Arts Centre? Then have a look at  http://ow.ly/8TXh50zX8Cg and find out more! 
A Phoenix from the Ashes:The Story of The Old Marketplace Theatre and The Shaftesbury Arts Centre."
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  • Views through in watercolour, abstract symbols and cyanotype feather add to the variety from the adult artists Jane, J. Mason, Jonathon and Jo in the online art competition. @shaftesburytown #roomwithaview #glasshouse #futurism #cyanotype #insideoutside http://ow.ly/uNcV50zWvYP

    shaftesburyarts: "Views through in watercolour, abstract symbols and cyanotype feather add to the variety from the adult artists Jane, J. Mason, Jonathon and Jo in the online art competition. @shaftesburytown #roomwithaview #glasshouse #futurism #cyanotype #insideoutside  http://ow.ly/uNcV50zWvYP"
    11
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  • Have a listen to our first short story - 'A reserved seat' by Jenny Parker, - our Chairman. If you have a story to submit, then take a look at our website below to find out how! http://ow.ly/HuUG50zUNQ1 #shaftesbury #dorset #somethingforeveryone

    shaftesburyarts: "Have a listen to our first short story - 'A reserved seat' by Jenny Parker, - our Chairman.

If you have a story to submit, then take a look at our website below to find out how! 
http://ow.ly/HuUG50zUNQ1

#shaftesbury #dorset #somethingforeveryone"
    3
    0
  • Our next 'lockdown move and groove' taster - Come and shake it, wiggle it and experience the joy of movement! No experience needed and can be done sitting! Get in touch on movesandgrooves@shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk to book your place! http://ow.ly/7jWo50zUNKT

    shaftesburyarts: "Our next 'lockdown move and groove' taster - Come and shake it, wiggle it and experience the joy of movement! No experience needed and can be done sitting!

Get in touch on movesandgrooves@shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk to book your place!

http://ow.ly/7jWo50zUNKT"
    2
    0
  • The ideas kept on coming from our over 18 group. These are from Gabrielle, Ian. Helen and Iris. #dreamholidays #orderandchaos #naturecreepingin #abutterflybeatsitswings #insideoutside #onlineartcompetition http://ow.ly/YbDt50zUVh7

    shaftesburyarts: "The ideas kept on coming from our over 18 group. These are from Gabrielle, Ian. Helen and Iris. #dreamholidays #orderandchaos #naturecreepingin #abutterflybeatsitswings  #insideoutside #onlineartcompetition http://ow.ly/YbDt50zUVh7"
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  • Did you get the last one? It was 'Under Milk Wood' and Bob Dylan wrote it! Head over to our facebook page or our websitefor this week's! Can you name the show and the year? https://shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk/flashback-through-the-archives/

    shaftesburyarts: "Did you get the last one? It was 'Under Milk Wood' and Bob Dylan wrote it! 
Head over to our facebook page or our websitefor this week's! Can you name the show and the year? 
https://shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk/flashback-through-the-archives/"
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  • Social commentary and flowers from our next four adult artists, Dean, Dejan, Denise and Emma, who entered the online art competition. #homelessness #ppeforcarers #artinthetimeofcorona #sayitwithflowers #socialcommentary http://ow.ly/KsN950zUV4p

    shaftesburyarts: "Social commentary and flowers from our next four adult artists, Dean, Dejan, Denise and Emma, who entered the online art competition. #homelessness #ppeforcarers #artinthetimeofcorona #sayitwithflowers #socialcommentary http://ow.ly/KsN950zUV4p"
    17
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  • Doe a deer a female deer.......have you decided on which song you are singing yet? Go on - sing your heart out and be part of our singing fiesta! Who is in? http://ow.ly/FofW50zUNic #shaftesbury #dorset #singyourheartout

    shaftesburyarts: "Doe a deer a female deer.......have you decided on which song you are singing yet? 
Go on - sing your heart out and be part of our singing fiesta! Who is in? 
http://ow.ly/FofW50zUNic

#shaftesbury #dorset #singyourheartout"
    1
    0
  • Introducing 'Once upon a line' - do you have a passion for writing short stories? Well - come and join us! To submit a story, either create an audio file, ensuring that you include the story title and your name at the beginning, or send us a written version and we will read it on your behalf. Submissions to press@shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk. http://ow.ly/LupP50zUNfv

    shaftesburyarts: "Introducing 'Once upon a line' - do you have a passion for writing short stories? Well - come and join us! 
To submit a story, either create an audio file, ensuring that you include the story title and your name at the beginning, or send us a written version and we will read it on your behalf. Submissions to press@shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk.

http://ow.ly/LupP50zUNfv"
    3
    0
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