Culture Southampton

New Arts Complex

The new complex will provide a stunning visitor attraction at the heart of Southampton’s thriving cultural quarter of museums, galleries, theatres and music venues, situated around Guildhall Square. Side-by-side in the new arts complex, John Hansard Gallery, Nuffield and City Eye will present world-class art exhibitions, inspirational performances, outstanding resources for film-makers and creative events for all ages, each venue contributing to extending the range and quality of arts and culture in the city.

The arts complex will create an environment that moves, entertains and inspires people of all ages, pairing local roots with global ambition. It will act as a magnet for people across the city, region and beyond who are seeking rich arts experiences and will provide a lively, creative ambience unique in Southampton.

The 6,000 sq m. arts complex will be two adjacent, linked, landmark buildings, framing Guildhall Square with cafés and shops at street level creating a lively destination day and night. The complex will employ around 100 staff, have a joint annual turnover of over £3 million and will attract around 350,000 people a year.

It will be a new home to:

  • John Hansard Gallery (University of Southampton): a new city centre space for this internationally renowned contemporary gallery (currently based on the University campus). Working closely with the City Art Gallery and others, the Gallery will continue to develop internationally acclaimed art exhibitions.
  • Nuffield:  including a flexible 450-seat theatre, a studio theatre and a dance studio.  This will transform Southampton’s ability to show new and exciting work for local, national and international artists, and provide facilities for inspiring programmes of creative learning and participation.
  • City Eye: this established organisation runs Southampton Film Week, and creates unique opportunities and programmes for individuals, communities and organisations to understand and use film and digital media.

This dynamic mix of contemporary arts will draw significant new audiences into the area. Internationally acclaimed art exhibitions, inspirational and entertaining performing arts and outstanding resources for film-makers will provide new creative opportunities for everyone across the city, the region and beyond.

The arts complex is planned for completion in 2016. Developers Grosvenor Britain & Ireland started pre-construction work on site with archaeological investigation in August 2013.


With 90% of the £22m project cost already in place through support from Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, and SEEDA, the Trust aims to raise the remaining £2.1m from grant-making organisations, individuals, business, and educational institutions.

The CultureSouthampton Corporate Membership scheme is a great way for businesses to get involved and join Southampton’s top companies in leading the city’s cultural transformation and economic regeneration.

John Hansard Gallery

Arts Complex Page at Southampton City Council


Image credit: Artist’s impression. Copyright CZWG


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