Arts Centre Entrance today

Was your appetite whetted by hearing the conversation between our own Anya Noakes and Rosemary King on The Alfred Daily on 1 June 2020 (go to around 13m 40s in)? Then search no more! Explore the history of the Arts Centre from this very page.

See the story featured on OutReach: Tales From the Village – Shaftesbury on August 20 2020

A Phoenix from the Ashes: The Story of The Old Marketplace Theatre and The Shaftesbury Arts Centre
Written by Anya Noakes

With thanks to Eric Olsen for allowing us to reproduce photos from his Images of England books “Shaftesbury” and “Shaftesbury Recollections” and to Mike Sims for his extensive historical knowledge and photos of the Arts Centre.

Prologue: A Brief History of Shaftesbury

Part 1: Arrival of Moving Pictures and Creation of the Arts Club

Part 2: The Purchase and Conversion of the Upper Market Hall

Old Market Playhouse entrance (between 1952 and 1956)

Part 3: Grand Opening of the Old Market Playhouse

Part 4: A Phoenix From the Ashes

Part 5: Into the 21st Century

A brief timeline of our history

If you have any further information about our history or any photos you’d like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by contacting