The Acorn is Penzance’s favourite affordable theatre for live music and performing arts with a reputation for innovative programming.
For over 40 years we have hosted a huge variety of acts, groups and projects within theatre, dance, music, comedy, children’s theatre, film, choirs, youth and community engagement. Our facilities and atmosphere attract performers from the regular national and international tour circuits to play in this remote corner of Cornwall. The Acorn also nurtures regional talent by supporting the development of new work, hosting community events and providing an affordable venue for educational arts activities.
In 1969 the former Wesleyan Methodist chapel on Parade Street was bought by Gay Sagar-Fenton who donated it to a local charity, Penzance Arts Centre, to enable them to run it as a theatre. In 1987 the trustees of Cornwall Theatre Company Ltd., a small-scale touring theatre company took over the assets and liabilities of the Penzance Arts Centre. Their aim was to expand audiences by injecting a new enthusiasm for the arts into the community and widening the spectrum of arts provided.
In June 1996 the Acorn Arts Centre was awarded a significant grant from the National Lottery to undertake essential refurbishment of its premises and re-design the internal layout including improved access. Building works were completed in 1998 and the Acorn Arts Centre re-opened as a flexible venue with a 170-seat main theatre and a smaller basement bar and theatre space with an 80 seat capacity.
After a brief period of closure in 2010, The Acorn has come back to life and once more occupies a vital place in the community as the main centre for music, theatre, dance and other live arts in West Cornwall.