As the current uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we are sad to announce that the Shelley Theatre will remain closed until at least January.

We are working with our performers to reschedule events wherever possible. In the meantime, we would like to reassure you that we are contacting all affected ticket holders directly, and we do ask for your patience as we work through this.

We continue to monitor the situation very closely, and if it is necessary to extend our period of closure then we will not hesitate to do so. As always, the health of our staff, volunteers and patrons is our highest priority.

The Shelley Theatre is determined to survive these challenging times. We would like to thank you all for the truly heart-warming support you have shown us, and we look forward to welcoming you back when we re-open.


From 1848, Shelley Manor was the private abode and performing home to the Shelley family - the world famous theatrical and literary dynasty from the 19th century.

It is now the last remaining building in the country with direct links to the Shelleys, and the theatre itself is a rare and valuable example of a mid-Victorian private theatre.  

The Shelley Theatre Timeline:

1801 - Boscombe Cottage is built - one of the first buildings in the area.

1848 – Sir Percy Florence Shelley (son of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley) buys Boscombe Cottage and starts a 2 year redevelopment of the plot, renaming the house Boscombe Manor. His mother is in ill health, and has been recommended the the mild climate and sea air of Bournemouth,  so he hopes to create a retirement home for her final years. Sadly, Mary dies before work on the house is finished.  Sir Percy Florence and his wife, Lady Shelley, take up residence instead.

1866 – Sir Percy, who was “an enthusiast for theatre”, has a theatre built inside Boscombe Manor. This replaces a timber theatre outside.

The Shelleys and invited friends would rehearse plays and hold public performances of them for up to 300 people to raise funds for health facilities in Boscombe. Celebrated locals such as Robert Louis Stevenson and  Sir Henry Irving were regular guests.

1889  – Sir Percy dies.

1911 - Boscombe Manor is bought by Grovely Girls School in 1911 – renaming it Grovely Manor.

1938 - Sold to the council as a Home Guard and First Aid Centre in WW2.

1945 - 1998 – Becomes the Bournemouth Art and Technical College.

2005 - Charles Higgins Ltd buys Boscombe Manor from Bournemouth Council in auction to redevelop as a medical centre and theatre.

2010 – The first performance in the unrestored theatre – Frankenstein – by candlelight.

2014 – The Shelley Theatre Trust forms and their first programme is launched!