Who we are

Kirkgate Arts is a social enterprise and charity, first established in 1995.

We run the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth – a unique theatre and arts venue based in a former Victorian school. The centre, which was first established by a group of dedicated volunteers, is a fun, intimate and vibrant community hub where people can come together to enjoy a diverse selection of inspiring live performances and events, perfect for people of all ages and interests.

Video: Le Vent du Nord wishing us a Quebec style Happy 20th Birthday!
"Mon cher Kirkgate, c’est à ton tour, De te laisser parler d’amour"

We also run Arts Out West– West Cumbria’s rural touring arts programme, which helps local people to stage engaging arts events in village halls.

Why we’re special

Our greatest asset is a wonderful team of 120 volunteers who give their time freely to run the venue for their own community. Volunteers are involved in every possible aspect of running the centre from ticket sales, to projection, publicity and sound engineering. Volunteering lies at the very heart of our ethos – to create a warm and relaxed environment in which to showcase high quality arts for everyone in our community.

How we manage it

Kirkgate Arts is managed by a Board of Directors (voluntary positions) who oversee the strategic direction and corporate governance of the business.Click here to learn more about them or you could read our Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Our Ambition

Kirkgate Arts exists to tackle the social disadvantage that results from lack of access to services and poverty of opportunity – stemming from our rural location in West Cumbria. Our vision is of a sustainable and significant hub for arts, community and heritage activities in West Cumbria. Our mission is to enrich local life through diverse and innovative cultural and community experiences.

Our Goals

Our key priorities as an organisation are to:

1. Enable local communities to benefit from high quality performances and cultural events.
2. Broaden the appeal of our cultural programme to attract a wider range of people.
3. Celebrate and promote our heritage.
4. Develop an outstanding, inviting and inspiring community venue.
5. Develop a centre of excellence for our volunteers to keep them at the heart of Kirkgate Arts as we evolve.
6. Make Kirkgate Arts a sustainable and resilient organisation.