About us

Shaftesbury Arts Centre is a 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

In the gallery from today four artists – Caroline Hughes, Lindsey Keir, Gillian McCormack, Rachel Raine – until April 2nd. #ceramics #paintings #fusedglass #silverjewellery #inspiredbynature # https://t.co/3qp75ECFR9

Saturday 23 March
Sinnober
A welcome back to Shaftesbury for Sinnober following their Fringe debut.

https://t.co/d3CoBN4yUe https://t.co/d3CoBN4yUe

Check out one of our Spring Plays! ‘Audience’

Tickets on sale at the box office.

#justgoodfun

Tuesday 19 March, 2pm. Swimming with Men (12A)
A man who is suffering a mid-life crisis finds new meaning in his life as part of an all-male, middle-aged, amateur synchronised swimming team. Rob Brydon and Jane Horrocks star in this laugh out loud… https://t.co/Z0WnzKTFFM

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  • In the gallery from today four artists - Caroline Hughes, Lindsey Keir, Gillian McCormack, Rachel Raine - until April 2nd. #ceramics #paintings #fusedglass #silverjewellery #inspiredbynature # http://ow.ly/wuiM30o7yPL

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery from today four artists - Caroline Hughes, Lindsey Keir, Gillian McCormack, Rachel Raine - until April 2nd. #ceramics #paintings #fusedglass #silverjewellery #inspiredbynature # http://ow.ly/wuiM30o7yPL"
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  • Last two days to see this exhibition of two local artists, Rob Neeley and Eric Bailey. Closes tomorrow at 4pm. #camouflage #nestingbox #elevatedhideout #assemblage #conversationpiece #oilpainting #expressiveart #shaftesburyartists http://ow.ly/YMaQ30o2MwI

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see this exhibition of two local artists, Rob Neeley and Eric Bailey. Closes tomorrow at 4pm. #camouflage #nestingbox #elevatedhideout #assemblage #conversationpiece #oilpainting #expressiveart #shaftesburyartists http://ow.ly/YMaQ30o2MwI"
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  • Great article about the gallery in the BM mag this week, but don't just 'happen' upon the Gallery, make a point of checking out the exhibitions every week if you have any interest in art at all or are just curious. #bvmmagazine #artforveryone #localartists #shaftesburyartscentre #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset http://ow.ly/rqA630o4fwc

    shaftesburyarts: "Great article about the gallery in the BM mag this week, but don't just 'happen' upon the Gallery, make a point of checking out the exhibitions every week if you have any interest in art at all or are just curious. #bvmmagazine #artforveryone #localartists #shaftesburyartscentre #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset http://ow.ly/rqA630o4fwc"
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  • Check out this exhibition of expressive painting and quirky assemblages from Eric Bailey and Rob Neeley. Continues to 19 March 10am - 4pm daily. #vaticanminibar #birdstage #foulplay #stilllife http://ow.ly/rWdY30o2Max

    shaftesburyarts: "Check out this exhibition of expressive painting and quirky assemblages from Eric Bailey and Rob Neeley. Continues to 19 March 10am - 4pm daily. #vaticanminibar #birdstage #foulplay #stilllife http://ow.ly/rWdY30o2Max"
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  • In the gallery this week - Rob Neeley and Eric Bailey until 19 March. Many a fascinating conversation piece along with expressive paintings. #castrelief #transferprints #oilpainting #philosophy #football. http://ow.ly/Vmve30o1SoI

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery this week - Rob Neeley and Eric Bailey until 19 March. Many a fascinating conversation piece along with expressive paintings.  #castrelief #transferprints #oilpainting #philosophy #football. http://ow.ly/Vmve30o1SoI"
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  • Last two days of this special exhibition - Peter Gardner with Charlotte Dooley. Peter has over 80 years experience as a painter and Charlotte just four, encouraged by him. Ends Tues 4pm #londonstreets #beautyofthecity #memory #experience #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/XVsz30nWy1K

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days of this special exhibition - Peter Gardner with Charlotte Dooley. Peter has over 80 years experience as a painter and Charlotte just four, encouraged by him. Ends Tues 4pm #londonstreets #beautyofthecity #memory #experience #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/XVsz30nWy1K"
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  • Posted @withrepost • @yourvalleynews Shaftesbury Arts Centre welcomes gardener and broadcaster Alan Power, who gives a richly-illustrated spring lecture on gardens that he loves. Wednesday 13th March 7.30pm, tickets available from Shaftesbury Arts Centre @shaftesburyarts #shaftesburyabbey #alanpower #gardens #gardening #horticulture #presenter #gardenersworld #myjourneythroughgreatgardens #headgardener #stourheadgardens #stourheadnt #nationaltrust @ntstourhead

    shaftesburyarts: "Posted @withrepost • @yourvalleynews Shaftesbury Arts Centre welcomes gardener and broadcaster Alan Power, who gives a richly-illustrated spring lecture on gardens that he loves. Wednesday 13th March 7.30pm, tickets available from Shaftesbury Arts Centre @shaftesburyarts #shaftesburyabbey #alanpower #gardens #gardening #horticulture #presenter #gardenersworld #myjourneythroughgreatgardens #headgardener #stourheadgardens #stourheadnt #nationaltrust @ntstourhead"
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  • Posted @withrepost • @shaftesburyfringe Thinking of performing at Shaftesbury Fringe? There’s just over a month to go before registration closes on 14 April. See website for details, and help us to make this the best Fringe yet! . . . . . . . #shaftesburyfringe #shaftesbury #visitshaftesbury #fringefestival #artsfestival #whatsonindorset #dorsetevents #arts #performance #drama #comedy #music #theatre #poetry

    shaftesburyarts: "Posted @withrepost • @shaftesburyfringe Thinking of performing at Shaftesbury Fringe? There’s just over a month to go before registration closes on 14 April. See website for details, and help us to make this the best Fringe yet!
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#shaftesburyfringe #shaftesbury #visitshaftesbury #fringefestival #artsfestival #whatsonindorset #dorsetevents #arts #performance #drama #comedy #music #theatre #poetry"
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  • instagram by shaftesburyarts
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  • Charlotte Dooley has been painting for the past four years and exhibits with her mentor and friend, professional artist, Peter Gardner in the gallery until Tuesday 12 March. #ageisjustanumber #ageconcern #ruralart #dorsetartist #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/jImh30nWxyW

    shaftesburyarts: "Charlotte Dooley has been painting for the past four years and exhibits with her mentor and friend, professional artist, Peter Gardner in the gallery until Tuesday 12 March. #ageisjustanumber #ageconcern #ruralart #dorsetartist #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/jImh30nWxyW"
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