The Sessions House – Spilsby Theatre


Courthouse and prison (1827). Theatre since 1984. Community arts venue heritage regeneration.

The Story So far...

Grade II listed Spilsby Theatre was originally built as house of correction 1824-27, designed by the architect HE Kendall. Many people were sentenced to deportation in its courtroom in the early 19th century. The prison was demolished in 1876 leaving the existing courtroom and attached buildings. The site housed both the court and Spilsby police station until the 1980's.

In 1984 the building was bought and transformed by local entrepreneur Phil Stokes and became Spilsby Theatre. Since then it has hosted many musicians, theatre companies and community events.

In 1988 the theatre changed hands and became part of the charity The Dandelion Trust. In 2015  the trust began winding up. In the same year the main auditorium had to be closed due ceiling problems and the building was placed on the Theatres Buildings at Risk register.

A local community group was soon formed by theatre volunteers. A smaller makeshift theatre was built in another part of the building to ensure all would not be lost and meetings and networking began. The group received significant support and advice from The Theatres Trust, BRICK and The Lincolnshire Community Foundation.

In 2016 with a skilled and knowledgeable core team on board, The Sessions House CIC was incorporated. The CIC is now taking a regeneration project forwards. Funding is currently being sought to undertake Viability Study work.