Queens Park Arts Centre is the hub, heart and home of the arts in Aylesbury Vale. It is the largest independent arts centre in the UK, and is a registered charity. Founded in 1980 the Centre’s mission statement is ‘arts for all’ – offering the local community access to creative and performing arts.
At the core of the Centre’s operations is the Weekly Workshop programme. We run over 70 workshops every week, catering to all ages and covering everything from pottery, painting and needlework to music, drama and dance (and more!)
The vast majority of these sessions are drop-in and pay-as-you-go, meaning students don’t have to make a substantial long-term commitment of time or finances. The programme allows students to attend as frequently or infrequently as suits them.
Another key principle of the workshops is the ability to ‘do your own thing’. Most of our workshops are run by experienced tutors (a great number of them volunteers) but the sessions remain informal, with tutors offering knowledge, guidance and feedback to students as required. Not only does this encourage the social value of the arts, it also means students can be creative on their own terms without the pressure of being judged by what they create.
As well as our weekly courses we also offer regular school Holiday Workshops for children and Sunday Special classes for adults, which showcase artistic disciplines not available on a weekly basis, such as raku pottery and blacksmithing.
Opened in 1983, the Limelight Theatre is an intimate 120-seater fringe venue, operating primarily on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Limelight has welcomed many famous faces during it’s time, including Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand, Chris Ramsey, Théâtre de Complicite, Sally Barker and Aylesbury’s very own John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett – who were students at Queens Park School, the former incarnation of the Centre’s main building!
The Theatre offers a diverse programme of live music, theatre and comedy. Monthly Blues Nights are always popular, as are our Gig Nights showcasing the best local talent. The Limelight is home to Aylesbury Folk Club - which runs two Friday nights a month with a blend of ‘Folk in the Annexe’ sessions and guest nights - and Unbound, the Centre’s in-house storytelling programme which presents regular community theatrical productions including the hugely-popular Queens Park Pantomime.
The Centre has three exhibition spaces – the Main Gallery, Subway Gallery and also the Coffee Bar. These spaces have welcomed artists of local, national and international acclaim, with recent displays including work heralding from Spain and Zimbabwe and even the Amazon!
The galleries are also used to showcase some of the great art created in our weekly workshops, allowing artists from within our local community the chance to display their work.
Each year the Centre takes part in the Bucks Open Studios, and has welcomed artists including Brenda Hurley, Amanda Curbishley, Eddie Gosney, Sue-Jane Mott and Sue Gosney among others.
The Centre has a Coffee Shop catering primarily to workshop users but also, during the daytime, to members of the public who can stop by and see what’s going on at the Centre. The shop also serves as the fully-licensed Limelight Bar during theatre performances.
Our Art Shop stocks a good range of art materials and resources, ideal for students picking up supplies for workshops or to use on projects at home. Items on offer include a wide choice of papers and paints, pencils and charcoal, pottery tools, sketchbooks and much more.
As well as the aforementioned Aylesbury Folk Club and Unbound, Queens Park also has a special community outreach project called the WanderHouse. Led by artist Pippa North, the project is a collaborative programme of activities working alongside schools and youth organisations to create inspiring artwork and installations in the local community.
Most recently, the Centre has started to offer Pottery Parties – a chance for artists of all ages to celebrate special occasions by getting creative.
And there’s more…
There’s plenty to discover about Queens Park Arts Centre, whether it’s Volunteering, becoming a Member, Hiring a room, helping with our Fundraising or discovering the Centre’s amazing History. If there’s something you’d like to know that’s not on the website, call us on 01296 424332 or email email@example.com