Our New Home

Guildford Shakespeare Announce New Long-Term Home!

In January 2020 we'll be fulfilling a long-held ambition to be moving into a new long-term home. Following a three-year campaign to find a suitable venue we are pleased to announce we'll be moving in to two buildings on the fringes of Stoke Park in Guildford.

In 2016, we launched a fundraising campaign to establish a long-term home in Guildford that would enable us to bring all our rehearsal, education, outreach, office and storage needs under one roof. With the help of Guildford Borough Council (GBC), we subsequently moved into temporary accommodation at Midleton Road. In the summer we were served notice that the building is due to be demolished in February 2020, and the search to find a long-term solution intensified.

The solution has come in the form a 10-year lease of The GreenArk on Lido Road and the former Astolat Bowls Pavilion, a hundred metres away. The GreenArk will be GSC's main rehearsal and classes space, whilst the Astolat will serve as an education venue and our administrative office. As part of the agreement with GBC, GSC will continue to manage the community use of the GreenArk.

The Astolat Pavilion has been empty for two years, and, with no working bathrooms or electrics, it will be completely renovated and reconfigured inside to ensure we can continue to deliver and further develop our work within Guildford and beyond. The work, (which started today), and the move itself, will take two and half months, at a cost of almost £82,000.

The majority of the works will be paid for from donations to GSC’s New Beginnings campaign, which we set up in 2016 to help us establish a long-term home. A cash contribution made by GBC to help make the building fit for purpose, and a reduced rent period will further enable us to afford the renovation necessary to create our new home.

Matt Pinches (GSC Co-Founder):We are indebted to the extraordinary generosity of our audiences and benefactors without whom we simply would not be in a position to be able to achieve this dream. We are also very grateful to the GBC councillors and officers that have supported our search, and who, have enabled us to keep our base in Guildford. These two spaces mean we will remain in the community we have grown with and wish to continue serving. Facilities for visiting artists and community groups will be vastly improved, our education and life-changing outreach programmes will be much better supported and we can begin to securely plan for the future.” 

James Whiteman, Managing Director of Guildford Borough Council said:The Guildford Shakespeare company is an asset to the borough and we are really pleased to be working with them. Collaborating with our communities for the benefit of our residents, visitors and businesses is a key priority for us. We look forward to watching this dynamic company go from strength to strength.”

As well as our productions, seen by over 115,000 people, the GSC Education and Outreach Department annually work with some 5000 people across Surrey. Our programme to reduce social isolation and promote social mobility within our community – Brave New World – works with the elderly, homeless, excluded teenagers, and children from less advantaged backgrounds. In 2019, over 3,500 individuals benefited from free-to-access performances, workshops and therapy sessions.

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13 thoughts on “Our New Home

  1. Fantastic news! Congratulations to the council for acknowledging the wondrous achievements of Sarah, Matt and the rest of the extraordinary GSC contributors since 2006. Look forward to seeing the new nerve centre in 2020.

    And naturally it’s pure coincidence being located near two pubs?

  2. Terrific news and really well deserved by Guildford’s outstanding company. Congratulations to Matt and Sarah for everything they have achieved so far and wishing them, and the whole company an even bigger and brighter future in their new home!

  3. Well done Matt , how things have moved on from the beginning when I used to lend you tables and chairs for your lakeside performances at the Uni , I also remember the night the heavens opened up and all the stage lights blew up and we huddled under a single gazebo – What a success you and your company have made to get where you are today , I guess you owe some of it to that Mr Shakespeare guy ! l

    1. Thank you Dave! So lovely to hear from you. Goodness, yes, those days seem a long time ago now. The support of people you like Dave in those early years is what got us going, so we’ll always be indebted to you!

  4. Congratulations on finding a new home. We have so enjoyed all your plays, the interpretations are always so fresh and thought provoking. and we love having our very own Shakespeare company on our doorstep

  5. Fantastic news! Am just catching up with what is going on with the GSC. YOU WILL go from strength to strength. Macbeth was wonderful this year and am really excited to see what you do with ‘She Stoops To Conquer’, one of my favourite non-Shakespeare plays. Best wishes to you all.

    1. Thank you so much Veronica! Really lovely to hear from you and such kind words about GSC. Sorry not to have seen you at the Macbeth, but very pleased to hear you enjoyed it.See you soon at HardCastle Hall!!

      1. I was there, twice, the first occasion was the abortive performance with electrical problems, so came again with Jo the following Monday. So sad we ‘lost’ #She Stoops To Conquer’. A favourite play of mine! But maybe one again tor future years. Hope all are well. Stay safe. Roni

        1. Thanks Roni – lovely to hear from you. I do hope you’re well. Yes, very sad indeed, but She Stoops will be back in June 2021.

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