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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


With the recent government announcement of a lockdown until early December , we must continue to remain closed to the public. 

We are fortunate to be working on pupil performances for audiences of school year groups - which means that the lights are on and we are putting into practice our Covid safe guidelines for audiences.

We hope that when we are able to welcome you back to the Layard,  this will mean you feel supported to relax and safely watch live theatre, as soon as we are able to programme a new season.

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

Within this ongoing and changeable context, we remain optimistic about finding ways to welcome audiences back to the Layard, and will let you know as soon as this becomes possible.

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