A dancer jumps, posing in front of a bright piece of art

About Us

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre prides itself on being accessible and inclusive. We want everyone to feel welcome and get involved in what we do.

Facilities

With over 20 years of experience, our programme offers performance, courses and workshops, contemporary art exhibitions, activities for children and families, and more. We are proud to champion emerging talent and disability-led artists, supporting those starting their careers. Our outstanding access and inclusive work has been recognised, through multiple awards and grants from Arts Council England, BBC Children in Need, Leicester Shire Promotions and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Our audience has grown to 86,000 people over the last year.

Our gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary British and international art. Doubling the size of our existing building, the new £1.5 million capital project makes Attenborough Arts Centre the largest contemporary art gallery in Leicester and one of the largest in the East Midlands. The new gallery has been funded by Arts Council England, University of Leicester and over 1,000 public donations.

a couple looking at the art on walls
the external of attenborough arts centre

Attenborough Arts Centre’s work is inspired by Richard Attenborough, a world leading filmmaker, actor and lifelong patron of the arts. Richard Attenborough was an inspirational talent and pioneering thinker, our founding patron and a hands-on man who helped establishing our arts centre, working tirelessly to raise millions of pounds in fundraising and donations. Handing the patronage to his son Michael, we continue to follow Richard’s vision and continue his legacy striving to include everyone in great art, culture and learning.

We are proud to support students as part of the music scholarship programmes through the Alumni Scholarship and the Philharmonia Scholarship. Find out more about how you can gain valuable experience from the Philharmonia Orchestra to develop and showcase your music to a wider audience.

Meet the Team

Our dedicated team are the heart blood of everything we do. Whether they’re our technicians, front of house staff, directors, education team, and volunteers, everyone is important.

two children sat with a smiling education practitioner in the gallery
Michael Attenborough delivering a speech

Our advisory board

Attenborough Arts Centre is guided by some of the heads of their academic field and most creative minds in the country. Their advice and suggestions help to steer Attenborough Arts Centre forward.

Exhibition archive

We’ve got over twenty years experience as a curated gallery, originally with our Balcony gallery but since 2015 have had our larger galleries one, two, and three.
A golden clad dummy wearing a golden sun mask

Commissioning Archive

We’ve got over twenty years experience as a performance venue, as both a receiving house and commissioning a wide range of pieces. From one man shows, challenging performance art, full cast plays and shows for the whole family, this is a small selection of the works that we have commissioned over the years.

Our programme

Leicester has a wealth of talented poets, writers and spoken word performers and we love to welcome them to our building. Every year we act as a venue for the Leicester Comedy Festival with a wide range of acts for audiences ranging from Parents with Babies, Families to Students. We are delighted to host Word that runs regular spoken word events that combine Open Mic and guest performers of national and local significance. Our partnership with the NHS funded Bright Sparks project enables special events linked to Comedy, Spoken word and Mental Health. Themed evenings celebrating particular interest groups are also very popular.

Our venue loves small children and families who have an opportunity to explore safely in an informal environment. Over the years we have built up connections to some of the very best theatre companies working with small children and try to host special events over Half Terms and Holidays as well as a regular Sunday afternoon theatre slot.We look for companies who foster imagination and recognise that children want to be actively engaged whether it be through puppetry, physical theatre, music or song. Many of our theatre events offer opportunities for the children to join in a workshop or meet the actors and their props after the show.

Our Arts Council funding ensures that we look for the very best companies committed to removing barriers to access so that families with disabled children can enjoy shows together in as relaxed an atmosphere as possible.

Our Performance Hall was specifically designed for music so the acoustics are terrific. Whether your interests are classical, jazz or Folk we work in partnership with a range of producers and performers to offer regular music events throughout the year. The Indian Sitar Society is a new partner bringing outstanding musicians from across the world to play and we are delighted to work in partnership with the Philharmonia to support their rising stars to perform to an inclusive audience.
Our free Soundbites programme every Tuesday lunchtime offers a whole range of music performed by students or local performers keen to support local community groups to access music in an informal setting over lunch.
Since we are not a traditional theatre we can offer flexible, accessible space to experience the very best of small scale dance. Very few venues can offer the experience of being up close and personal with the dancers at the same level as yourself. Over the years we have welcomed companies, duets or solo performers often performing brand new work or improvising on the spot. We have welcomed a whole range of emerging and well known dancers from across the world who enjoy the freedom our informal venue affords them.
Whenever possible we like to find the very best international dance for children as a source of inspiration and fun.
Although we have had to pause our programme of theatre we will be bringing you some on line opportunities over the coming months.
We are the home for small scale touring theatre in Leicester selecting the very best work we can find from across the country, especially from International showcases such as Edinburgh Fringe or BiteSize as well as working with our partner venues across the Midlands! We love companies who create new work from scratch, take creative risks and enjoy actively engaging with audiences. During the year we provide opportunities for you, the audience to see work in progress which provides a fascinating insight into the creative process as well as helping the companies and performers to develop their shows based on the feedback they receive ready to return to show the completed work later!
Our programme will often include companies who respond to issues and produce work that makes you think, laugh or cry!
In any one season we will be offer work for adults, families or children in an informal and inclusive atmosphere where one can eat and drink, relax, move around or simply sit and enjoy the show sometimes in the round, or in a traditional theatre setting.
5 people in black and red dancing on stage
Attenborough Arts Centre was built and equipped with the aid of generous donations from:
The Baring Foundation logo
The Baring Foundation
The Foundation for Sports and the Arts logo
Foundation for Sports and the Arts
P C Hickinbotham Charitable Trust
Hickinbotham Charitable Trust
Leicester City Football Club logo
Leicester City Challenge Trust
arts council england logo
The National Lottery through Arts Council England
Attenborough Arts Logo
The Richard Attenborough Charitable Trust
Attenborough Arts Logo
The Lord Mayor of Leicester’s Appeal 1992-3
clore duffield foundation
The Vivien Duffield Foundation