Bournemouth’s Shelley Theatre ‘very much alive’ says boss after rumours of demise

Manager Matthew White

Manager Matthew White

First published in News

A TINY theatre with links to Frankenstein author Mary Shelley is seeking to scotch unfounded rumours that it is bound for the grave.

The Shelley Theatre, which was built as a private facility at the home of Sir Percy Florence Shelley, was brought back to life four years ago.

It has its first full season of programming lined up this year – but its manager was horrified to learn people were talking about its demise.

Venue manager Matthew White said an email, circulated by well-wishers as an appeal for volunteers, had sparked the rumour.

Some people hiring the venue for events were concerned about their bookings.

“The email said unless we get more volunteers we would more than likely close down. The meaning of the email was somewhat misrepresented,” he said.

“We’re doing really well. We’ve got our first proper programmed season now.

“The venue has been open for bits and pieces before but we’ve finally got to the point where we’ve grown enough in order to commit to regular work.”

Forthcoming shows include the theatre group Sisata with their production of Much Ado About Nothing, set in the aftermath of the First World War.

“The company do site-specific performances and they’re really excited about being here,” said Mr White.

The theatre is part of Shelley Manor, which Sir Percy Shelley built with the intention of moving his ailing mother Mary there. She did not survive to move to Bournemouth, but she is buried at St Peter’s Church in the town centre.

Sir Percy and Lady Jane Shelley staged plays in their private theatre to raise funds for medical services in Boscombe.

The theatre came back into use in 2010 thanks to developer Charles Higgins, who had turned most of the manor house into a medical centre and agreed to provide the theatre to the public.

Mr White said: “Half our battle is letting people know that we’re here. We’re not in an obvious location with lots of public going past.”

The theatre has seats which belonged to the town’s defunct Imax cinema, but its walls remain bare and unrestored.

“The atmosphere is amazing. It’s such a unique space,” Mr White added.

Details of events at the theatre are at

Comments (1)

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9:09pm Thu 29 May 14

HRH of Boscombe says...

Looks like their bluff backfired
Looks like their bluff backfired HRH of Boscombe
  • Score: -7

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