South Hill Park Arts Centre is Bracknell's multi-purpose arts centre. It offers a wide variety of shows, courses and a café/brasserie in its many spaces:
o Wilde Theatre – 330 seat
o Studio Theatre – smaller, more intimate performance space at 50-seats. This space is ideal for amateur or smaller professional productions, working particularly well for shows aimed at children
o Cinema – 60 seat for a more personal cinematic experience
o 7 Gallery Spaces
o Café Atrium
o 3 Bars
o 6 Art Studios
o Dance Studio
o Digital Media Centre
o Italian Gardens
o Inspiring Grounds used for outdoor events such as Fusion Asia and Big Day Out festivals
o Recital Room – usually used for classical music performances
o Cellar Bar – pub quizzes, live bands, you name it!
o Creative Control Recording Studio
A key part of our remit is supporting and commissioning new work across the arts, from both established and emerging artists.
South Hill Park currently offers term time courses each year across, art, music, drama, dance, digital media, and literature, in addition to this workshops are offered each year, for all ages and abilities and covering a wide range of subjects, from taster sessions to master classes.
The annual programme of performing arts offers hundreds of events, including music, drama, comedy, musicals, dance and opera by leading local, national and international professional artists and talented new amateur groups.
The galleries host many exhibitions a year across the 7 spaces, showing the work of local, national and international contemporary artists in a wide range of media.
Sir Andrew Motion
South Hill Park can also be hired for corporate and private events, including conferences, weddings, parties etc. Within South Hill Park’s facilities are:
• State-of-the-art audio-visual and multimedia presentation technology.
• Fully equipped digital suites, enabling remote internet-based office communications with all the advantages that the latest in technology can provide
• The Wilde Theatre to deliver the most influential presentations to audiences of up to 330 people. Smaller but equally powerful platforms from which to stage presentations are the Gallery, Dance Studio and 50-person Studio Theatre
• A 60-seat Cinema to communicate messages as only a big screen can, complete with Dolby surround sound and air conditioning
• The Recital, Garden, Terrace, Haversham, Watts Rooms, each with its very own distinct history and design, accommodating between 12 and 120 people
• Full staging facilities, complete blackout and interior event decoration including starcloth
History of South Hill Park:
The original South Hill Park mansion was built in 1760, rebuilt in 1868.
During the 1939-45 War the house was occupied by the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, then in the late 1940's it was converted into five luxury flats with the main reception being common to all.
From 1953 the house was owned by the B.B.C., who converted parts into studios and acoustically treated some of the rooms.
In 1963 South Hill Park was included in an extension of the new town designated area of Bracknell and the Bracknell Development Corporation acquired the property.
In 1972, a proposal for adapting the house into an Arts Centre with an additional theatre was agreed with the intention that the immediate surrounding gardens, lawns, trees and two lakes would be preserved. The South Hill Park Trust was established and the South Hill Park Arts Centre opened in October 1973.
In 1984, the construction of Phase 2 completed the original design for the 330 seat Wilde Theatre, which has drawn large numbers of people to the area since its opening.
A new, Dance Studio and Bar extension, along with additional dressing rooms, rehearsal and storage space were added to the theatre in 1988/89.
The Bracknell Gallery opened in 1991.
In 2002, the Park completed a major programme of refurbishment. A successful application for £3million from the Arts Council of England National Lottery Board, partnered with £1million from Bracknell Forest Borough Council, has created an exciting development of the mansion buildings. The scheme has transformed the interior of the old building into a purpose built art space. A New Atrium opened up the heart of the building and provides an attractive meeting place, a restaurant and bar featuring art works and an informal performance space.