Thursday, August 08, 2013

Arts Centre case studies - Ipswich Arts Centre

These case studies on other Arts Centres is archived from the Ipswich Arts Centre website which is now closed.

Norwich Arts Centre

Information very kindly provided by Amy Wragg with some information taken from

Norwich Arts Centre is a small, independently run venue with charitable status (Charity No: 274803) situated close to the centre of Norwich. We aim to offer a broad range of performing and media arts of the highest quality to the community, together with a programme of participatory workshops and activities that offer good access to the arts.  The centre celebrated its 30th anniversary in June 2007. It was originally opened in a disused department store on St Benedict’s Street in 1977 and moved to its current site, St Swithin’s Church on St Benedict’s Street, in 1980.

Arts Council Funded.
£117,217 in 2008/2009, £120,381 in 2009/2010, £123,014 in 2010/2011 and £114,526 in 2011/2012.
As a national portfolio organisation, Norwich Arts Centre has been offered £190,000 in 2012/2013, £190,000 in 2013/2014 and £190,000 in 2014/2015. This is subject to a funding agreement being agreed. (Taken from the Arts Council website)

Raising revenue
Venue hire fee and bar take is also very important. It costs £600 to hire the main room (capacity 275) but they will consider ticket splits too for those who don’t have financial backing like myself. They also hire about the bar (capacity 100ish) as a smaller affordable space for things like local acoustic gigs, poetry and comedy.

Staff and volunteers
It is run by a small team of paid staff (maybe only 5 full time and a handful more part time) will check exact numbers with them when they open again for the new year.

They work with quite a few volunteers, manning the door, selling tickets, programme distribution, merch stand manning. I will get exact figures in the new year but yes, volunteers are vital.

Harlow Square

Information kindly provided by Steve (who works at Harlow Square).  Find out more at

The Square is Harlow’s live entertainment venue with a 30-year history at the heart of the music scene in the town. The Square offers a varied programme across a wide range of musical genres to appeal to all ages within our community, with both major artists and local acts as well as Comedy (one of the oldest established nights) and Quiz nights.

Organisation type
We’re a Limited Liability Partnership.  This was chosen over Limited Company at the suggestion of accountants, for various reasons.  This isn’t to say that we wouldn’t switch to a Social Enterprise in the future.

Entirely self financed. The running of the building falls on the four partners and we have no backing whatsoever, so if no one comes, the building shuts.

Staff and volunteers
Currently around 30 part time staff. We have a few volunteers who help with some aspects of promotion, but generally everyone is paid.

Otley Courthouse

Information kindly ferreted out by Ian Bareham and provided by Otley Courthouse Centre Manager Robbie Swale, so HUGE thanks to both!

Otley Courthouse is a unique development, run by local people, in Otley, West Yorkshire. In 2004, after an eight year development period we transformed a redundant nineteenth century magistrates court into a unique ‘arts and resource centre’ for our community.

The Courthouse Today
The building today is busy seven days a week. It’s a place where people of all ages and abilities can try things out, see a film, catch an exhibition, watch a show, listen to good music, enjoy a performance by International artists and get access to advice and support- Otley CAB are just across the courtyard. It’s somewhere which acts as a springboard for local people who want to change direction, start a new career, set up a small creative business, establish an arts event, have fun and discover more about their talents – or simply try volunteering.
Local groups come to rehearse, hold meetings and events and take the opportunity to work together in new ways. Local artists and the town partnership occupy the workspaces. Volunteers aged from 15-80 plus support our part time staff team by running reception, selling tickets, dealing with IT, distributing publicity, serving in the cafe and stewarding events.

Programming Policy
Otley Courthouse enables local people of all ages and with a range of needs to access a wide variety of arts and creative activities. Since opening the Courthouse has established a rich programme of more than 70 professional evening arts performances a year- from world music and theatre to contemporary dance, live literature, comedy and film.

Over the years, the Courthouse has received funding from a variety of generous sources. Now, the Courthouse receives a small grant from Leeds City Council, equating to about 4.5% of its income, a number of other grants from charitable trusts (around 4%) and self-generates the other 91.5% of its income from room hire, box office income, local fundraising, our Friends Scheme, and our bar and cafe.

The Courthouse has a small staff team of two part time office staff, two site managers and a variety of casual bar and cafe staff. The staff team are supported by a freelance bookkeeper and programmer, and an amazing team of over 100 volunteers, who work on everything from Reception and Box Office to the Cafe to publicity.The organisation is a Registered Charity and Limited Company, and as such has a board of trustees, who give their time to help the development of the organisation.

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