Culture Southampton

New Arts Complex

Southampton’s new arts complex will be a stunning contemporary arts hub, providing unforgettable experiences in live arts, visual arts, film and video. It will bring contemporary art and a wide range of exciting local, national, international and community performance into the heart of the city. It will complete the Cultural Quarter, nurturing confidence and ambition across the city’s arts sector and maintaining the momentum of the city’s renaissance. It will touch lives through arts attendance, community participation and education at every level.

The new arts complex is part of a flagship development which also includes residential apartments, and a mix of shopping, cafes and restaurants.

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.
  • Performing Arts Centre:  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


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Cultural Partners

The Cultural Quarter builds on already strong arts and heritage activity in and around Southampton.  The Trust is working with a wide range of partner organisations and venues including: