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Layard Theatre

The Layard Theatre was opened by Sir Richard Eyre in May 1999, having been funded in part from the sale of the Assyrian Frieze, which had originally been brought to Canford by Sir Henry Layard in the mid-nineteenth century.

Attractively sited on the campus of Canford School, in 250 acres of parkland on the banks of the River Stour, the theatre offers the pleasure of the performing arts in a beautiful and historic setting. It is a flexible and atmospheric building, which has won wide acclaim and, with a seating capacity of just 294 (including 2 designated wheelchair spaces), the theatre is intimate, accessible and welcoming for both seasoned theatre-goers and first-timers.

In addition to housing Canford's drama department and student productions, this fully-equipped, modern theatre provides a venue for a wide range of professional entertainment, including top quality theatre and music. These productions are open to the public and are publicised in our seasonal programme. Parking for the theatre is free.

Contact Us

Layard Theatre, Canford School, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 3AD

Box office: 01202 847525  Hire enquiries: 01202 847529

Email us


From Friday 10th December 2021, visitors to the theatre will be required to wear masks, as per government requirements announced under plan B, unless exempt.

Other Covid-safe practices for our audiences include hand sanitisation points and our air replacement system. We hope that this will mean you feel supported to relax and safely watch live theatre, here at the Layard.

Our vibrant season of pupil performances continues for the current academic year, from musicals and mysteries to drama and dance –it’s a joy to have the lights back on and the sound of applause in the auditorium!

Additionally, we are taking bookings for venue hire, with bookings open for 2023 - do get in touch with our administration via, or call 01202 847525.

We are exploring options for a short professional touring season and planning some exciting pop-up workshops across a range of arts-based techniques for 2022- news to follow in due course!

We will post updates on this website and to our mailing list - if you’d like to join this, please contact, detailing your name and email address. 

We thank you for your continuing interest in and support of the Layard, and hope that you stay safe and well.