The Kirkgate Centre is a key player in the social and cultural life of Cockermouth, Cumbria. Under the umbrella of the charity Kirkgate Arts, it is run by and for the community. For over 20 years, it has been a place where people of all ages and backgrounds have come together to engage in and be entertained through live music, film, comedy, touring theatre, dance, festivals, creative workshops and more.

Now our much-loved, well-used building is creaking at the seams and we need to take bold action to secure its future. So, we have plans to make it bigger and better than ever, to bring a new and sustainable lease of life to this vibrant arts, community and heritage venue in the heart of our town.

Video: Kirkgate Arts original crowdfunding campaign from 2015. Updated video coming soon.

The Plan

We are modernising and extending the building, which was originally a Victorian school. People want more activity and circulation space, a larger bar area incorporating a café, better sound, lighting, film projection, new and more comfortable seating, better access for all and a greener building.

And that’s exactly what we will provide, without losing the friendly and quirky atmosphere on which our centre thrives. We will also:

  • create more flexible and versatile community spaces to hold more events and workshops
  • create larger and more efficient office and box office space for our staff and volunteers
  • improve access for people with limited mobility and parents with buggies
  • install exciting state of the art heritage features, reflecting the history of the people, town and old school
  • attract more performers by having up to date technical equipment and better back stage facilities
  • create more opportunities for local artists and our young people
  • have the only disability accessible stage in West Cumbria

Our design team has made fantastic progress with plans for the modernisation of the building. We have secured full consent for a revised planning application which will see greatly improved accessibility within our revamped building.

We have also made excellent progress with fundraising, through the energy, commitment and generosity local people, led by the Friends of the Kirkgate. But there's still a long way to go.

We must continue to focus on pulling together the funding package needed to deliver our ambitions. We are working closely with major funders such as Allerdale Borough Council, Arts Council England, Power to Change, Heritage Lottery Fund and others who have already committed funds to our project and remain very supportive.

For further information about the building project, please contact Kirkgate Arts on: 01900 825599. You can also find our most recent update on our development project by clicking here.

You can help!

We need your help to keep this vital arts centre going for generations to come. Please click here to find out how you can support us in maintaining Kirkgate Arts.