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Daniel Gurteen

Haverhill Arts Centre Our History

Haverhill Town Hall, now Haverhill Arts Centre, was built in 1883 as a gift to the town by local businessman/philanthropist Daniel Gurteen in order to provide a 'town hall for the inhabitants of Haverhill'.

Therefore it was never a town hall in the Civic sense as it was conceived of as a place for the inhabitants of Haverhill to go and enjoy choral music, or be improved by it, and the stage was mainly designed for choirs and it housed a proper pipe organ which has since been removed.

During the 1950s and 1960s the hall hosted regular dances, hops and jives and it was a thriving centre for social activities, the local ‘palais’. In the 1970s and 1980s public taste moved away from dances and it became well known for its bingo events and pantomimes.

In the early 1990s, after much local consultation, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, with support from the Arts Council of England and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, converted the building into an arts centre designed to present a range of live entertainment, plus cinema and community activities, as well as providing meeting rooms for local clubs and groups.

The renamed Haverhill Arts Centre opened on 1 December 1994, and in 2004 came under the operational control of Haverhill Town Council.

Now a Grade II listed building, Haverhill Arts Centre  provides a wide ranging programme of arts and entertainment for Haverhill and the surrounding area, featuring a broad selection of theatre, cinema, comedy, children’s shows, music (rock, jazz, classical, folk and world), dance, spoken word, and a variety of participatory workshops for children and adults.

There are 210 tiered seats when the hall is set up for a show or for film, and it can host dinner/dances or functions for up to 120. The Arts Centre is therefore available for hire for performances, meetings, functions, dinner dances and conferences.

There is a café, open Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 4.00pm, an exhibition area, meeting room, digital studio, bar, toilets, full disabled access and baby changing facilities. The Haverhill Local History Centre is also housed in the building.

Haverhill Arts Centre is managed by Haverhill Town Council

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