Opened in January 1985, the Chatsworth Art Centre has been a pinnacle part of Long Eaton’s arts scene for almost thirty years.
Formerly a derelict Methodist church and school hall, the Centre was originally purchased by a group of local enthusiasts who converted the existing buildings into a theatre and community centre. Devoted to providing arts for the local community, the Centre has since become ‘home’ for an ever-increasing number of local arts-related groups who share similar creative passions.
Throughout its existence as a community arts space, the Centre has influenced the surrounding area, inviting local residents to experience and appreciate the value of the performing arts as well as enjoy its unique facilities.
We are a charity, owned and managed by the Long Eaton and Districts Arts Council. Like any theatre, our stage profits are reinvested to improving our facilities both on and off stage for visitors and performers. Since the Centre’s tragic fire in 2003, we have managed to fund the rebuilding of the Duchess Theatre with an enormous amount of support from local government, businesses and generous member donations.
Between 2003 and 2010, the Duchess Theatre was completely rebuilt at a cost of around £250,000 and featuring a new layout with a new stage, foyer, dressing rooms and seating for performers and audiences alike to enjoy.
After the incident, the Centre set up ‘The Phoenix Fund’ to cope with its rush of public donations to restore the theatre to its former glory, giving the Centre a recognised appreciation for its importance in the local community. Leon Wade, current chairman of the Long Eaton and District Arts Council spoke of their support after the fire: ‘That was the thing that brought me to tears more than anything – the overwhelming support’. With the local performance space in ruins, theatre groups in the area began to find new venues to stage their productions.
Well, we’re back.
The Duchess theatre officially reopened in September 2010 and now showcases a variety of theatre within its new multi-use facility designed for both performances and social events.
The first show in the new theatre saw sixty performers from eight local societies take to the stage together to perform in a fantastic musical gala performance ‘The Theatre Story.’ Since then, our theatre has continued to grow, with its improved facilities opening up new opportunities to accommodate for our increasing audiences and visitors.