Support Us

Help the shows to go on

Shaftesbury Arts Centre has been at the heart of the local community for more than 60 years, providing a wide range of entertainment and cultural activity for a large area of Dorset and Wiltshire, and even parts of Somerset and Hampshire.

As well as a resource for the community to develop, pursue and promote their artistic and cultural interests, the centre hosts a varied and lively year-round programme of theatre and live performances, drama for all ages and abilities, films, art, photography, craft exhibitions, dance. music and other group activities.

Shaftesbury Arts Centre is a charitable company limited by guarantee – a charitable company in short – run wholly by volunteers drawn from its membership. It receives virtually no public subsidy and relies on the generosity of its patrons, members and supporters to keep the centre running.

Our expansion plans

The Arts Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007 by launching a long-planned project to expand by buying, converting and refurbishing the building next door at No 11 Bell Street. Completed in 2009 at a total cost of nearly £500,000, the expansion provided the centre with a shop-front retail unit, three extra large meeting/function/activity rooms, five new toilets, including disabled toilets, a lift for the disabled, and a refurbished box office.

In autumn 2009 the centre replaced its main heating system and extended it to include No 11 at a total cost of nearly £19,000.

Further work took place in 2012  when the shop unit was converted into a new Art Gallery.

In summer 2014 the old Gallery space was transformed into a new Foyer/Bar area and the Auditorium entrance centralised with additional seating installed at a cost of £20,000.

We started raising funds for Phase 4 of our improvement plans in 2016, to include:-

  • Extending the fly tower
  • Re-roofing the auditorium/stage area
  • Providing a new two storey rear extension containing a large workshop/arts and crafts studio, storage facilities, dressing rooms, toilets and multi-purpose meeting rooms.

This ambitious project was costed at £750k and our aim was to raise £250k of this sum with the remainder being grant-aided.
In 2017, an  Arts Council England grant was applied for but sadly turned down. However,
planning permission was applied for and received.
In 2018, the decision was made to break the project into bite sizes pieces, so in July 2019 work started on the Dance studio, which was completed in October 2019.

We are continuing to fund raise and apply for grants to complete the project.

If you would like to help the centre with a donation, please click here.

Other ways in which you can support our efforts are by:

Becoming a member
From just £25 per annum you can enjoy reduced ticket prices for most performances, participation in the centre’s many group activities, receive mailings of the centre’s seasonal programme of events and newsletter and vote at the annual meeting. Details and an application form are inside the seasonal programme or available from the box office.

SupportUs_SeatsSponsoring a seat Sponsor one of the seats in the theatre and you will be playing an important supporting role in our fundraising efforts. Introduced in 2008, many seats have already been sponsored in this way and but there are still some available. For a single donation of £150 the centre will fit a stylish plaque to the seat of your choice and it will remain there for ten years with the dedication of your choice. For more details pick up a leaflet in the foyer.

Leaving a legacy Leaving a gift to the Arts Centre in your will is a wonderful way of ensuring your support for the centre will be remembered.

For details of this and other ways in which you can help the centre contact Geoff Spencer (Treasurer) by  email:

We hope you enjoy our shows and activities and thank you in advance for your generosity.