News Archive


Cranleigh Literature Festival

Cranleigh Literature Festival

If you love Shakespeare, plays, poetry and reading you will not want to miss the Cranleigh Literature Festival taking place at Cranleigh Arts Centre during the first week of March. The Festival boasts a fantastic literary line-up including The Guildford Shakespeare Company, Daisy White’s Pop-up Book-tique, star of Radio 4’s The Archers, Sunny Ormonde, politically charged new writing by local playwright Tony Earnshaw and feisty spoken word inspired by the women of Greek and Roman mythology.

Download the brochure here.

As part of the Festival, we have launched an adults’ Short Story Creative Writing Competition, which will be judged by writer and Creative Writing tutor, Ruth Brandt. The winner of the competition will be presented with a prize of £50 in gift vouchers for Manns of Cranleigh by Ruth at the Cranleigh Literature Festival Launch Party on Tuesday 1 March (6:30 – 8:30pm). Furthermore, 300 words of the winning entry will be printed in the April edition of Vantage Point magazine.

The terms and conditions for the competition are as follows:

  • Short stories must be emailed to by Wednesday 24 February, 5pm.

  • The competition is open to adults only (18 years +).

  • Stories should be double-spaced and no longer than 1,000 words.

  • Only one entry per person.

  • Entries should not have been published previously.


Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but by entering the competition the entrant agrees that Cranleigh Literature Festival will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning story, (including those of the runners up and commended authors), on the Festival website or as ‘posters’, postcards and/or celebratory pamphlets for display and distribution during the Festival and the entrant waives his/her rights in relation to such publication to the extent that he/she is able to do so.


The judge’s decision is final and she is unable to comment on individual entries. Judging will be fair and unbiased. Experienced entry readers will assist the named judge in selecting the shortlists. The organisers reserve the right to change the panel of judges without notice and not to award prizes if, in the opinion of the judges, such action is justified. Please Note: Entry implies acceptance of all the above rules. Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification.


Fundraising Dinner Saturday 28 November 7pm for 7.45pm

Fundraising Dinner Saturday 28 November 7pm for 7.45pm

Support the Arts Centre's Target 25 Fundraising initiative to modernise & sustain Cranleigh Arts Centre for the next 25 years and beyond. This special evening includes champagne reception, 3 course dinner, after dinner speaker, musical and theatre entertainment and auction.

Currently auction promises include: Private tour of Broughton Castle hosted by a member of the Fiennes family; Solent Yacht Cruise; Race day at Fontwell; "The Archers" signed script; Joe Stilgoe Concert tickets and more.

For more information or to book tickets, contact Arts Centre Director, Antonia Wilson on 020 8398 5513 or email

Download your Fundraising Dinner Form here


A Tasty Trio of Bands to Headline the Cranleigh Food and Music Festival

A Tasty Trio of Bands to Headline the Cranleigh Food and Music Festival

In addition to local producers and food stalls, home-grown musical talent will also be on offer at the Cranleigh Food and Music Festival with three Surrey-based bands headlining the Festival.

Cranleigh Arts Centre’s 300 capacity auditorium will play host to the Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band, Following Foxes and The True Deceivers, offering festival goers a delicious blend of folk, rock and blues to round off their day.

Getting the party started will be festival favourites, The Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band, whose fun-filled repertoire includes 60's folk, brit-pop and traditional songs. Next on the menu is Guildford band, Following Foxes, a young and emerging talent in the British rock scene. The band has a range of influences from Biffy Clyro, City and Colour to Pink Floyd and they have attracted the attention of the national media with repeat performances and interviews with BBC Introducing.

And finally, fiddle-driven roots-rock band, The True Deceivers, have promised “a lively end to the festival”. Frontman, Graham Firth said: “The True Deceivers are very much looking forward to playing at Cranleigh Arts Centre. We would describe our music as rootsy folk rock Americana with influences such as Steve Earle, The Waterboys and The Levellers.” Since their formation in 2003, The True Deceivers have played at hundreds of festivals and have shared stages with a number of reputable acts such as The Stranglers, The Wonderstuff, Oysterband, Seth Lakeman, Dreadzone, Kate Rusby, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, and Hank Wangford.

The bands have generously agreed to support Cranleigh Arts Centre by performing for free and donating all of the ticket proceeds to the Arts Centre’s Target 25 fundraising campaign. Target 25 aims to raise £250,000 to preserve and modernise Cranleigh Arts Centre’s historic building for the next 25 years and beyond. The fundraising concert is on Saturday 3 October at 8:30pm and tickets are £10.


The Cranleigh Food and Music Festival

The Cranleigh Food and Music Festival

The Cranleigh Food and Music Festival is a new community event organised by Cranleigh Arts Centre and the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce. The two organisations have formed a committee to set up a festival that will celebrate and showcase locally produced food, drink and musical talent.

For the past two years, Cranleigh Arts Centre has held a popular Food Festival in the autumn, which sees the venue crowded with stallholders and artisan produce. This year, on Saturday 3 October, the Food Festival will take place at the Arts Centre as usual, but for the first time other Cranleigh organisations and businesses will take part in what will be a community-wide event.

In addition to bands and musicians popping up in a variety of shops, cafes and pubs throughout the day, there will also be spoken word with a food-theme at Cranleigh Library, performances from Hurtwood House theatre school on an outdoor stage and the Guildford Shakespeare Company will present extracts of Alice in Wonderland at Manns of Cranleigh’s toy department. Folk acts will perform throughout the afternoon at Cranleigh Cricket Club and the event will conclude with three bands, The Surrey Ukulele Big Band, Following Foxes and The True Deceivers, taking part in a concert at Cranleigh Arts Centre’s main auditorium in the evening.

Martin Bamford, Chartered Financial Planner from Cranleigh business, Informed Choice Ltd said: “The Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce is really excited about working with the Arts Centre to bring a vibrant and varied Food and Music Festival to the village on 3rd October. This is a fantastic community-led initiative which will showcase the best of local musical talent and purveyors of food, while also highlighting the many gems Cranleigh High Street has to offer its visitors”.

The event is sponsored by the Cranleigh Golf and Country Club, with all proceeds raised by the evening concert and from collections throughout the day being donated to Cranleigh Arts Centre’s Target 25 fundraising campaign. Target 25 was set up earlier this year by the Arts Centre to raise £250,000 to fund urgent repair work to the Centre’s nineteenth century building. For further information, including a detailed schedule for the day, please visit the Festival’s website:


Creative Arts Fortnight at Cranleigh Arts Centre 4th – 15th August

Book-making, cartooning, tie dying and drama workshops with a twisted fairy-tale theme are just some of the fun activities that will be taking place at Cranleigh Arts Centre during the first ever Creative Arts Fortnight this August.

 Traditionally the Arts Centre closes its doors during the month of August, however due to the rising popularity of the “stay-cation”, Centre Manager, Kary Backhouse, has opted to keep the Centre open for a couple of weeks longer. Kary says: “Not everybody wants or can afford to jet off to foreign lands, so this year we decided to put together a selection of fun, affordable and creative activities for those holidaying at home this summer.”

From 4 - 15 August there will be many activities for children and adults to take part in. Local youth theatre group, The Man in the Moon, is running the Centre’s first five day drama summer school for children aged 5 – 11 years old. The course aims to “banish boredom” during the summer holidays and offers “out of this world theatrical fun with a twisted fairy-tale theme”.

The Arts Centre is excited to be working with a number of new artists, including Veronica Wood and Russel Herneman, who will be running the Cartooning and Humorous Illustration Workshops for adults. Adults and children will also be able to take part in a new Concertina Book-making workshop and other creative sessions include glass fusing, tie-dying and a sea creature themed craft workshop.

For further information about the Creative Arts Fortnight, click here or call the box office on 01483 278000 (open Tues – Sat, 10am – 4:30pm).


Van the Man Comes to Cranleigh

Van the Man Comes to Cranleigh

World famous rock stars appearing on stage at Cranleigh Arts Centre is now just as much of a festive tradition as putting up a Christmas tree each year, thanks to the Centre’s Honorary Patron, Paul Jones' annual charity concerts.

On the evening of Monday 15 December, an audience of around 300 was not disappointed when rock and blues legend, Van Morrison walked on stage to join Paul Jones and The Boom Band. Audience members were treated to an eclectic mix of Blues, Southern, Rock, Country, Funk and Retro Pop, including hits such as ‘Whenever God Shines His Light’, ‘Real Real Gone’ and ‘Down by the Riverside’. Paul Jones and the Boom Band, which includes retired England and Surrey batsman, Mark Butcher on guitar, provided seamless backing to Van Morrison, who travelled from Belfast, at his own expense, solely to participate in this event.

Succeeding the late Sir Harry Secombe, Paul Jones became patron of Cranleigh Arts Centre in 2007 and his annual charity gigs provide a significant contribution to help sustain the arts centre. He became famous in the early 1960s as lead singer with Manfred Mann, scoring many top 10 hits including ‘Doo Wah Diddy Diddy’ and `5-4-3-2-1’. In addition to presenting a weekly blues music programme on BBC Radio 2, Paul Jones continues to be a very busy performer appearing with The Blues Band and The Manfreds.

This year’s charity gig was partly dedicated to Paul’s friend and musical associate Jack Bruce, a former member of Cream, who died earlier this year. Joining Paul at the second sold out gig was Robin Trower of Procol Harum, Sarah-Jane Morris of the Communards and blues harmonicist, Paul Lamb.

All of the musicians appeared at both events for free and the proceeds raised this year, in the region of £20,000, will be split between Cranleigh Arts Centre (itself a registered charity), Jack Bruce’s chosen charity, the East Anglian Children's Hospice and a charity of Van Morrison’s choosing.


Cranleigh Food Festival 2014

A delicious date for your diary: Cranleigh Food Festival 2014.

Shake up the weekly shop on Saturday 4th October! Watch footage from last year's Food Festival.


May Day Ale Trail

May Day Ale Trail

Saturday 5 May, 11am – 4pm

Pick up a copy of our **aletrail12flyer** here! As part of Spring into Cranleigh’s May Day festivities, Cranleigh Arts Centre and The Richard Onlsow have teamed up to create The Cranleigh Ale Trail on Saturday 5 May.

Start off your May Day celebrations at The Richard Onslow where you can test your local knowledge in the Ale Trail Quiz. There will be lots of tricky questions and answers to find as you stroll up the high street and enjoy the festivities.

Then follow the foot prints up to Cranleigh Arts Centre where you can stock up on some local beers and rest in the outdoor picnic area with some tasty ‘Gilt Complex’ Beer Bangers straight from the BBQ.

Seven local breweries will be participating including The Dark Star Brewing Co. Ltd; The Tillingbourne Brewery; Dorking Brewery; Hepworth & Co Brewers Ltd; Hogs Back Brewery. Ltd; Pilgrim Brewery and Surrey Hills.

The event is free to attend and the Ale Trail Quiz will be giving away lots of fantastic prizes donated from the breweries.

DATE & VENUE Saturday 5 May, 11am – 4pm at Cranleigh Arts Centre & The Richard Onslow

Free entry


Help secure our future!

Help secure our future!

Cranleigh Arts Centre is a non-profit making community arts centre and charity; with only 15% of our income currently coming from public funds we work hard to cover our costs each year.

With your support and just a few taps on your mobile phone, you could help contribute towards new events, exhibitions or workshops in our programme; repairing and restoring the building and helping us to continue entertaining, enriching and inspiring the local community for future generations.

Simply text CARTS to 70558 to make an instant £5 donation. Thank you.


Lighting up the High Street

We hope you had fun cheering on local school pupils and their beautiful lanterns at our ’Snow and Ice’ themed Lantern Parade 2010. We think our annual Lantern Parade is a great way to celebrate the uniqueness of Cranleigh village and Cranleigh people, but it only happens because of support and funding from local businesses and people.

We would like to thank Cranleigh Lions, Sabre Stone Ltd, Aerobytes Ltd and Elmbridge Retirement Homes Ltd for their financial support and also thanks to all those who took part including: Simona Paterova and Street Processions; Surrey Army Cadet Force band; Inspirals; Di Elliott; Tillingbourne School; Park Mead School; St Josephs and St Cuthbert Mayne School; and all the volunteers.

If you can lend your support to our next Lantern Parade, or are interested in finding out more about our other community projects get in touch by emailing


Writers’ Group Publish First Book

We are delighted to announce that the Cranleigh Writers’ Group, who have been meeting in the Arts Centre since May 2007, published their first book ‘Gallery’ in October 2010.

This inspiring collection of work will not only give these local writers an audience, but will also give people an opportunity to read a range of material. Readers can expect short stories, poems, a play and some life writing. The Writers Group has kindly offered to donate the profits of the book to the Cranleigh Arts Centre.

“We love meeting in the place, we think it is a great local asset and we know these are tough times for funding. To other people who are interested in creative writing we say come and join us.” Colin Ward, Cranleigh Writers Group.

Discover their new book on sale now at Cranleigh Arts Centre and other local stores on the high street. To find out more about the Cranleigh Writers Group email:


Love our films?

Alongside the Cranleigh Arts Centre’s already popular film programme, we’re now offering new films as they hit the circuit, but be quick the tickets will fly!

Discover Pop UP Film, and enjoy a wider range of films that are not listed in the brochure. This seasons screenings could include...

To find out when and what films will be popping up soon, simply click here to join the Cranleigh Arts Centre's e-newsletter!


Work experience...

Recently, Lisa Holmes helped us out for a week as part of her work experience, here's what she had to say about her time with us:

"I decided to go to the Arts Centre for work experience as I would like to go into art as a future career and I felt that this placement would help me when I was looking for a job.
While I was there I took part in a number of different activities including making leaflets and posters, and helping out with promotional events. The task I enjoyed the most was making giant flowers out of tissue paper for the Mad Hatter's Teaparty in June, because it was creative and I'd never done it before.
I also gained lots of experience as a lighting and sound technician for the King King's gig on the 5th June which was great as the band did a thank you shout out to me at the end.
On my first day I didn't really know what to expect, but by the end I didn't want to go back to school. I enjoyed it and would recommend other people to do their work experience here, especially if they are interested in art. It's also better than other placements where lots of the tasks are cleaning, stacking or typing up hand written documents for hours. I definitely plan to keep in contact with the Arts Centre."
Lisa Holmes (14)