Our Commitment

The Acorn is a well-loved hub for the creative arts in the centre of Penzance and has long played an important part in our communities in West Penwith.

We prioritise high-quality performances along with creative engagement within the local community through workshops and clubs. Our programme cuts across all genres, including live music nights, international tours, book launches, work by local talent and comedy nights. Our two theatre spaces allow us to host both intimate performances and packed standing gigs. We showcase and invest in emerging, local talent through our Get Involved programme and by providing a platform and environment for new events to thrive.

We are committed to deepening our understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, to ensure that we provide a respectful and diverse place for everyone. Our performances and classes are open and accessible to all. We want our local community to discover and love the arts, whether that’s through watching, doing or helping.

Our History

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.

Black and white image of Parade Street Methodist Church

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.

Following further renovations in 2020 and 2021, The Acorn now has a permanent stage, removable tiered seating, a beautifully renovated green room, a new projection screen and lights, and soon we’ll have new toilets and a new cabaret bar!

Artist In Residence

David Mynne

“David Mynne: “Veteran Cornish actor” – someone used this description in a review; I think it’s a polite way of saying old! – and a founder member of Kneehigh, way back along.

I’ve been based in Penzance for over 30 years now. There is a thriving arts and cultural scene here in west Cornwall and the Acorn has always been an important part of that; as a venue, a rehearsal or workshop space, or just to meet and discuss ideas.
My first introduction to the Acorn was around 1980 when, as a member of Kneehigh, we first performed there. It became a regular venue for the company for many years.

The Acorn has always been a special place for me, whether I’m performing or just watching a show. I’m very proud to have been involved with it, and watch it change and grow as a venue over the last 40 years or so.

As the Artist in Residence I use the Acorn to write, develop, rehearse and perform my own work – http://davidmynne.com/index.php. My tours open and close at the Acorn and there is usually a dress rehearsal (with an invited audience and Acorn staff and volunteers). If anyone has any questions I can be reached via the Acorn or my website.”