Music And Drama Group

Drama and musicals are among the Centre’s principal year-round activities, involving people of all ages and abilities, professional and amateur, who make full use of the Centre’s fully equipped 158 seat theatre.

Productions are organised mainly through the Music and Drama Group which stages a core of four shows a year, from a regular winter pantomime in January, a spring play, a summer show and an autumn play. A Christmas music event is staged in most years.

The Music and Drama Group meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings during rehearsals for shows, from 7.30pm in the Theatre.


How and Who

The group reports to the Board of Trustees and is run by a committee elected by its large membership. The Music and Drama Group is always looking to encourage new members to perform or help backstage and offers a warm welcome with support to become as involved as they would like.


Music and Drama Social Evenings

The Music and Drama Group also run social evenings giving people a chance to get together, meet the group and have some fun. This includes play readings, barbeques, theatre trips, coffee mornings and often just a simple get-together in a local pub!


For more info, email  or call Diana Banham on 07765 788857.


Music and Drama Group Youth Theatre

The Youth Theatre consists of workshops run by experienced and professional tutors in all aspects of theatre, with an opportunity to be involved in the annual pantomime and other productions throughout the year. We have sessions for ages 7-11, 11-16 and 16-20 years, regardless of ability or experience. 




Costumes and Wardrobe

The Centre has an extensive wardrobe of costumes available for hire to other groups and individuals, from period to modern and full chorus sets. Rates are from £10 to £20 per hiring (up to two weeks) or from £25 plus deposit for its specialist proms dress hire service. Accessories and props are available at an extra charge by negotiation.


For bookings and more information please contact Phil Elsworth on



How To Get Involved

Whether you’re drawn to the allure of the spotlight, the creative pull of behind-the-scenes magic, or the intricacy of scriptwriting, there’s a role for everyone in the world of Music and Drama. From acting and directing to set design, lighting, costume creation, and more, Shaftesbury Arts Centre productions are a vibrant tapestry of talents that come together to tell compelling stories.

No matter your experience level or area of interest, there are numerous ways to get involved. Dive in, learn, collaborate, and become a part of our ever-growing theatrical family. Whether you’ve been involved in amateur theatre before or are completely new to it, there will be something to suit you. Our aim is to produce high quality and enjoyable theatre experiences in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.



For all our productions we hold an initial ‘Interest Evening and Read Through’ which is an informal event held at Shaftesbury Arts Centre, and open to anyone wishing to take part, both front and back stage. You can listen to others or join in yourself and of course have a chat in the bar. If the play appeals to you and you would like to audition, there will be an opportunity to sign up to come along to one of two audition slots, which normally take place the following week. We aim to let everyone know the outcome from auditions within a few days.

Rehearsal evenings are usually Tuesdays and Thursday evenings at the Arts Centre, plus an occasional Sunday as we near production dates. The week leading up to performances is usually busy with technical and dress rehearsals so you would need to keep a clear diary.


Directing and Producing

We encourage you to suggest and pitch plays you would like to direct to the Music and Drama Committee who will decide upon a balanced programme across theatre genres, ensuring there is something to suit all audience tastes. We are a friendly bunch and always looking for new Directors, so don’t be shy!

Whilst Directors cover all artistic aspects, each show also has a Producer who deals with the administrative side and liaises with the backstage and creative team. Taking the role of Producer with one of our experienced Directors is a good way to learn how the process works at Shaftesbury Arts Centre and starting off with a one-act play is often a helpful introduction too.

If you would like to direct a show with our Music and Drama Group and are new to directing or new to the Music and Drama Group, you can find more information out here.


Stage Manager

There may be only two or three actors on stage sometimes but behind every production is a dedicated crew headed by the Stage Manager who runs the show during performance week, technical and dress rehearsals. The Stage Manager is supported by a team and no experience is needed as we can give training, but you do need to be available for technical rehearsals in the immediate run up to a show and all performances.


Backstage – Set Design and Set Build, Technical (Sound and Lighting), Costumes and Props

Each play has a Production Team covering set, lighting, sound, props and costumes. This group works together with the Director and Producer to achieve the overall visualisation and interpretation of the production. Before taking full responsibility for these areas, it is best to gain experience and we have teams ready and willing to share their years of experience and knowledge. Costumes and props whenever possible, are sourced from our own extensive wardrobe and prop store, but sometimes these are hired or made/adapted specifically for a show.

Join us and let your passion for the stage come alive!


For more info, email or call Diana Banham on 07765 788857