Welcome to Parabola Arts Centre
Why not ask about getting involved as a volunteer at PAC? We have a friendly team of front of house volunteers who welcome the audience, act as ushers and assist on box office. You also get to watch the events that you volunteer on and see behind the scenes of the arts centre. Contact us for more information.
We look forward to welcoming you to PAC soon.
Parabola Arts Centre’s mission is to support emerging artists from across the UK and inspire young audiences in Gloucestershire.
Parabola Arts Centre was opened by Sir Richard Eyre on the 3rd October 2009. PAC is owned by The Cheltenham Ladies' College and is used by the school for performances, exhibitions and events.
In February 2011 PAC launched as a public arts centre with a programme focused on innovative work that stretches the definitions of theatre, music and dance and encourages people to look at the world differently.
PAC also invites artists for residencies. We have hosted Little Bulb for the development of Goose Party and provided support and space to develop work including Mess by Caroline Horton, The Bullet and the Bass Trombone from Sleepdog and The Guild of Cheesemakers by Stand & Stare.
PAC was built by Foster Wilson Architects. Their brief was demanding and wide-ranging: to be a creative learning environment for the students of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College, to develop a cutting edge arts space, to offer spaces for hire to the local community and to meet the need for a creative hub in Cheltenham. All this inside a Grade II* listed building on a constricted site.
The original, listed Bayshill House was transformed into a gallery, bar and foyer area. The villa also houses all the rehearsal spaces, offices, video editing suite, dance studio and library. This means that the regular activity of the building –the teaching, rehearsing and the daily work of the theatre staff, takes place in the light, beautifully restored listed building.
The new-build 325-seat theatre sits behind the villa. The auditorium is beautifully proportioned, resonant and atmospheric. Foster Wilson chose to work with natural materials: wood, brick, local limestone, brushed concrete and wool. The shape and surfaces are an update on the perfectly formed Georgian theatres: intimate, playful, tactile. The theatre is also naturally ventilated and has a ‘B’ energy rating.