Shelley Theatre in Boscombe is home to some fantastic live theatre, cinema and live music.
History of the Shelley Theatre
Originally, a private theatre within the home of Sir Percy Florence Shelley, Shelley Theatre is now in the hands of a registered charitable trust.
Sir Percy bought the house in 1849 and renamed it Boscombe Manor. It was intended as a home for his mother, Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame, but sadly, Mary died before she had a chance to take up residence, and Sir Percy and his wife Jane lived there until 1899.
In 1866 Sir Percy built the 300-seat theatre. Some of Sir Percy’s friends, including Sir Henry Irving and Robert Louis Stevenson (who wrote Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Bournemouth) were regular visitors to Shelley Theatre.
The restoration project began in 2005 when the house was renovated to become Shelley Manor, a medical practice, and the theatre trust was created. A daunting task faced the trust, and some of the first productions took place in a very cold and draughty room, with a distinct lack of walls, doors and toilets! Theatregoers were issued with blankets to help cope with the cold!
Shelley Theatre is now thriving, and boasts a 160-seat theatre, a bar, a box office and the Mulberry room, a dining and entertainment room with a small stage named after the rather impressive Mulberry tree growing right outside its door.
What’s on at Shelley Theatre
Shelley is host to a diverse and eclectic mix of shows and events.
- Live Theatre – featuring some excellent touring companies; the London Repertory are regulars
- Films – hot off the main circuit
- Music – some great live music, from piano classics to folk – and everything inbetween
- Comedy – monthly comedy nights featuring some of the UK’s most talented comedians