#SaveOurTheatres - St Austell Arts Centre

Total raised £11,260

raised so far

+ est. £552.50 Gift Aid



We aim to ensure the future of live entertainment at the St Austell Arts Centre. Donations will help us prepare & return for The Next Stage!

We're still collecting donations

On the 31st December 2020 we'd raised £10,240 with 118 supporters in 56 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

It goes without saying that the more money we raise, the more we will be able to do.  We could easily spend a million pounds on the Arts Centre, but realise that would be an unrealistic amount to aim for (or, would it?!!).

If we do meet our first target, it would mean that we could  increase the ability to do more work on each of our "Magnificent Seven" aims.

The St Austell Arts Centre is part of a national initiative launched by Theatres Trust to prevent the permanent closure of hundreds of UK theatres.


We have been providing entertainment for residents and visitors to the town for over 60 years. In March 2020, we were forced to close our doors, due to the restrictions placed on theatres, as a result of Covid-19.

We are now facing a period of up to 12 months with no shows and no income.  

However, we are looking at this period of enforced closure as an opportunity.  We want to use this time to plan and to prepare for the time when we are able to open our doors to you again, better than ever before.

You can help our St Austell Arts Centre: The Next Stage campaign by making a donation, or making a pledge for one of our special rewards. 

Why are we crowdfunding?

Our theatre risks permanent closure, if we don't act now. We are determined that, with your help, this will not happen.

Donate now and you can help us achieve our "Magnificent Seven" aims:

*     Ensure live theatre, music and comedy returns to St Austell, for the enjoyment and participation of all

*     Preserve the Arts Centre's history and safeguard its future

*     Create opportunities to employ freelance performers and technicians

*     Support our many community groups that meet at the Arts Centre by guaranteeing they have a place to come home to, when they are ready to resume their artistic and leisure activities

*     Fund essential repairs and maintenance to our much-loved venue

*     Help us replace our loss of income during this time of enforced closure, in order to meet our continuing running costs

*     Retain our skilled and experienced staff (one person!) to work alongside the Arts Centre's Trustees, to achieve the incredible future awaiting us all at the Arts Centre during our “Next Stage”

For over six decades we have been there for our community. We are now making this one-off request for you to be there for us.

About the St Austell Arts Centre

The Arts Centre and its theatre is an essential part of life to many and has been for over six decades. We received no funding from the Government's recent £1.57 billion "Culture Rescue Package" as we were deemed to be too small to qualify.

That is why we are now taking our future into our own hands - with your help.

Our Past


W J VARCOE - who previously lived on the land upon which the Arts Centre now sits and whose businesses were acquired by English China Clays in 1929.

Our theatre began life on an airbase at St Eval, Cornwall, as an original Quartermaster's Store. Following the Second World War, it was dismantled and brought to St Austell, flat-packed and re-sited on what had formerly been the grounds of a beautiful Victorian town house, the home of W J Varcoe, a leading light in the early days of the China Clay industry.  

The various pieces of the building were then lovingly reassembled by volunteers and, over the years, with a patchwork of repairs and maintenance it has survived, sometimes only just!

Our Present


Our socially-distanced "Comedy in the Car Park" event, with Kernow King, in October, 2020.  

Our Future

In recent years, the Arts Centre has become as successful as it has ever been.  We have worked hard to build a loyal audience for our events. Music, theatre, film and comedy have all attracted sell-out audiences.  

National and international performers have been attracted to perform at our little theatre. Local drama and pantomime groups have entertained audiences and often given performers and public their first-ever taste of theatre, with groups such as the St Austell Players, Trewoon Pantomime Group and To Life Productions.

Then, in March, the rug was pulled from beneath us. With no notice, we were forced to close. Shows were postponed or cancelled, advance ticket income was refunded and there is no prospect of this situation improving for months to come.

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are potentially devastating to us. While social distancing is enforced, it is impossible to stage shows that are cost effective and profitable. We now face what could be a period of at least 12 months without shows and, therefore without income.

In order to keep live entertainment at the Arts Centre alive during the pandemic, we have had an event in our car park, with Cornwall's Kernow King, and we have an online event lined-up, as part of this campaign, with Chris Difford, co-founder and lead singer with Squeeze, on 21st November.  

Sadly, though, income from these events, although welcome, do not meet anything close to our expenses over this time. However, we did not want the year to pass by without some effort on our part to keep entertainment going, in whatever way was possible.

We would now like to take this period of enforced closure as an opportunity. An opportunity to make sure that when we are able to re-open we can do so better than ever before. 

We want to plan for the next period of the Arts Centre's story; we want to plan for "The Next Stage"!


St Austell Arts Centre: The Next Stage!

If you have ever performed at the Arts Centre, please help us.

If you have ever seen a show at our theatre, please help us.

If you simply want to see Live entertainment in St Austell survive, please help us.

This is your one-off opportunity to ensure that together we can breathe life back into the St Austell Arts Centre and provide a home for live music, theatre and comedy, both professional and amateur, in the town for many more years to come.

Shows like these...


The Blackheart Orchestra - Booked to return in 2021


Snake Davis - Booked to play in February, 2021  Photo credit: Steve Clark


Edward Rowe (Bait / Kernow King) - who performed at our Comedy in the Car Park event recently


To Life Academy "Tales of Christmas Eve" - Photo Credit: Hudson Swan

Dance, drama and performing arts academy based in Cornwall with a focus on student led original work. Classes, workshops, fabulous performance opportunities and teacher training, based at the Arts Centre.


To Life Productions "Vestalia" - Photo credit: Mark Walker

An original-work theatre company creating and performing productions across Cornwall, based at the Arts Centre. 


St Austell Players - "The Lion in Winter" - The town's amateur drama company that has been performing at the Arts Centre for 60 years


St Austell Players - "Season's Greetings":  Photo credit Paul Williams


Trewoon Pantomime Group - Photo credit: Paul Williams.  

Award-winning family pantomime group that performs at the Arts Centre. Rehearsals should be in full-swing now for their 2021 show; a show that, sadly, will not be able to take place. 

Roll on 2022!


Trewoon Pantomime Group - Photo credit: Paul Williams

About Save Our Theatres

In villages, towns and cities across the country, theatres are at the heart of their community. Places to come together, to be inspired and be entertained. Theatres are where our best-loved actors learn their craft and thousands of others learn valuable skills. 

But we risk losing this forever.

Theatres saw their main source of income disappear in an instant when they closed in March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Six months later, we still don’t know when they will be able to reopen fully. A decision won’t be made until November at the earliest – too late for most to put on their annual pantomime, which often provides the income to support the theatre for the rest of the year.

This ongoing uncertainty puts theatres in a perilous situation. The government’s bailout is spread across all cultural organisations and certainly won’t be enough to save all of the UK’s theatres.

Every day theatres are facing the tough decision to make staff redundant and to close their doors until next year. And there is a real risk that those closures could be permanent. 

Without urgent support, we could lose our nation’s amazing theatres. Please help us to make sure our theatres survive this crisis and will be there to be enjoyed by future generations.


Please donate, share this page widely and do what you can to help us to make sure our theatre survive this crisis. 

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This project offered rewards

£10 or more

"It's Your Round!"

Our Bar has been unable to open for over six months. Help us by donating the cash equivalent of an average round of drinks.

£20 or more

"Tickets, please!"

With no shows, we haven't had any Box Office income since March, 2020. Help us by donating the cash equivalent of the average cost of a couple of tickets for one of our shows.

£50 or more

"The Next Stage!" Pen & Mug set

Limited Edition, St Austell Arts Centre Ballpoint Pen & Bone China Mug set. An exclusive offer of a beautiful St Austell Arts Centre: "The Next Stage!" large, bone china mug with a curved rim and sleek handle China mug and a stylish ballpoint pen with a retractable nib and silicon-tip stylus, for use on touch-screen devices. Donation includes postage & packing. Reward will be posted within one month of campaign closing.

£150 or more

Superstar Show Package!

Be a Superstar! Receive: 2 complimentary tickets for the show of your choice (once we're able to re-open!); 2 complimentary pre-show drinks; 2 complimentary interval drinks and the chance to meet the performers at the end of the evening and an autographed poster, for you to keep as a souvenir of your memorable night out.

£1,000 or more

Sponsor a show

Suitable for businesses, or the extremely generous. When we are able to re-open, you can sponsor one of our professional shows. The reward will include up to 10 complimentary tickets; one pre-show and one interval drink per person; the chance to meet the performer, after the show, and to receive an autographed poster, for you to keep as a souvenir of your memorable evening out.

£2,500 or more

Sponsor a Season of Shows

Suitable for larger businesses, or the even more generous! When we are able to re-open, you can sponsor a season of three of our professional shows. The reward will include (per show) up to 10 complimentary tickets; one pre-show and one interval drink per person; the chance to meet the performers, after the show, and to receive an autographed poster each, for you to keep as a souvenir of your memorable evening out.

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