Elmbridge arts directory

Statement on the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames: 17 January 2021

A report is being prepared to be taken to Elmbridge Borough Council Cabinet considering the future of the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse once the current management arrangements for the building end as of 31 March 2023. The building is approximately 100 years old, and unless satisfactory alternative arrangements can be established by this date, Cecil Hepworth Playhouse will have to close. The council's officers are working  closely with the current users of the Walton Playhouse to consult them on the way forward and include their feedback in the final report to be considered by Councillors.

The council remains committed to providing a new cultural hub to serve the arts of the borough in the longer term once the economic position allows.

The arts scene in Walton-on-Thames will continue to grow, primarily led by the team at the Riverhouse Barn. Elmbridge Borough Council contributes financially to the running of the Riverhouse Barn through an annual grant and it is proposed that we will increase that grant by £10,000 per annum to £30,000 per annum.

The Riverhouse Barn has built a reputation as a high quality arts centre servicing the community. They are rightly proud of that reputation and we believe they will continue to build on it in the future, providing a year round programme of events which includes drama, chamber music, traditional and modern jazz, children’s shows, cabaret and art exhibitions. They also offer a variety of classes in arts and crafts for all ages, adults, young people and toddlers.

How Elmbridge Borough Council supports arts and culture in the borough

  • Funding: connecting local groups with funding
  • Support and advice for local arts and cultural groups
  • Delivery of arts programmes to local communities (ie Royston Pike Lectures, Literary Competitions, Light up Elmbridge Festival, Schools Choir Festival)
  • Delivery of Dance 21 Programme at the Three Rivers Academy School supporting the physical and mental health of teenage girls 

The Elmbridge Arts Directory lists contacts for local arts organisations including drama, dance, music, galleries and more. The directory is continually updated so if you have any details to submit, please contact arts@elmbridge.gov.uk.

Useful contacts

The Elmbridge Arts Forum: a group of professional, voluntary, amateur and community artists, arts organisations and schools who are based in Elmbridge.  Members meet every six months to share information, discuss projects, network and pinpoint issues concerning the arts in Elmbridge.  The Forum is currently chaired by the Arts Development Officer and supported by local artists. Why not join the Elmbridge Arts Forum Facebook group and get involved?

The R C Sherriff Trust is an independent charitable trust with the aim of advancing and developing the arts in the Borough of Elmbridge in Surrey. Visit their website to see how the Trust can help your group.

See what's on in Elmbridge by checking the Arts Focus published by the R C Sherriff Trust or the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre programme.


The Cecil Hepworth Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames

The Playhouse was originally part of the Hepworth Film Studios and later turned into a theatre in 1924 after the studios closed. The building was bequeathed by cinema pioneer Cecil Hepworth for the benefit of local dramatic societies. Today the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse is a prominent arts venue in Walton-on-Thames. It is available for public and private hire and equipped for professional theatrical, dance and music productions.       

The Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames

Since opening in 1989, The Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre has been providing the community with a comprehensive programme of events including drama, chamber music, traditional and modern jazz, children’s shows, cabaret and art exhibitions. It also offers a variety of classes in arts and crafts for all ages, adults, young people and toddlers.

See what’s on at The Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre.

The Barn Theatre, West Molesey

The Barn Theatre Club is a professionally run local Studio Theatre, which has provided nearly forty years of continuous entertainment to the community. The Club offers a variety of entertainment throughout the year.

The Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton

The Vera Fletcher Hall hosts a wide range of theatrical productions including classical music concerts, opera, drama, music hall, film nights, jazz and contemporary music and shows for families and children. On a weekly basis the Hall offers the local community an exciting range of classes for people of all ages.

Esher Theatre

Located off Esher High Street, adjacent to the Civic Centre, Esher Theatre is a multi-faceted entertainment venue for the arts. Opened in September 2021, the theatre hosts everything from live music, fashion events, dance, comedy, theatre and poetry. Esher Theatre is available for hire. The venue has a full capacity of 250 and is designed to be adaptable, functional and professionally equipped for any production. It has a bar and a foyer. 

Galleries and exhibitions



Fine arts

Music and choirs

Theatre groups

For further information about arts organisations please contact arts@elmbridge.gov.uk.  

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