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Willows Arts Centre


Now demolished, the Civic Theatre was built in 1965 as part of a cultural complex, with the theatre situated underneath the Festival Hall - a multi-purpose assembly hall seating 1,388 for concerts, dancing, wrestling, etc.

The Civic Theatre was in two tiers with raked seating arranged in three banks on each level. The auditorium was plain with ribbed concrete finishes, the walls funnelling down to a proscenium opening of 7-9m. Above the stage, the grid has 24 hemp sets, and at 11m wide, the orchestra pit seated 20.

Few would claim that the building was a striking work of modern architecture but it provided a workable playhouse for the community for many years.

In 1988 there were serious concerns about the strength of the floor of the large hall above and the theatre became a forest of scaffolding. The theatre remained closed for 6 years before being strengthened, refurbished and re-opened - albeit with decreased seating capacity. In May 2002 the complex was re-named The Willows Arts Centre, following a campaign to keep the facility open.

In 2009 the centre finally closed as the local authority created a new cultural facility on an adjacent site: Corby Cube.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1965 - 2009: as theatre/arts centre, with periods of closure during this time
Current state
Current use
Festival Hall Complex, George Street, Corby, Northamptonshire, NN17 1QB, England
Further details
Other names
Civic Theatre
  • 1965 Design/Construction:
    Enrico de Pierro & Partners
    - Architect
  • 1965 - 2009 Use: as theatre/arts centre, with periods of closure during this time
  • 2009 Demolition: to be replaced by Corby Cube
  • Capacity
    1965: 545
    1998: 490
  • Capacity
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -