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The Portsmouth Cultural Trust is a registered charity (Registered Charity no. 1153358) that is serious about music, art, education and entertainment, and our ambition is to become a major Hampshire business centre. Attracting 235,000 people to Portsmouth Guildhall per year with our wide range of concerts and conferences we are one of the region's largest venues of its kind.  

In October 2010, Portsmouth City Council decided to create an independent Not for Profit Distributing Organisation or NPDO to take over the running of the Guildhall. In December 2010, the Portsmouth Cultural Trust was created. The Trust, managed by a Board of Directors, successfully registered as a charity in August 2013.

The Board of Directors are responsible for the overall strategy of the Trust – its vision and future direction. It is made up of people with relevant skills in a wide range of areas, such as finance, retail, venue management and marketing. Each member of the Board is essentially a volunteer, offering their time and expertise for the benefit of the Guildhall and of the City. Mark Smith, who is also the Chief Executive of The Southern Cooperative, is the Board’s Chair. More than 30% of patrons attending performances and events at the Guildhall come from outside of the city. This means that we are building on a great reputation that stretches across and far beyond Portsmouth itself.

In 2014 the Trust launched Get Into Music Portsmouth in partnership with Creative and Cultural Skills and Creative Choices, aimed at providing young people with knowledge and experience in the technical and backstage music industry. They also organised two free outdoor family festivals in Guildhall Square that was attended by 10,000+ people. See pages on the Funky Town Fest and Portsmouth Street Games for more info. Another exciting project launched in 2014 was the partnership with Aspex Gallery to present a brand new, free exhibition space entitled “aspex Guildhall” that brings contemporary arts from the southern region to the centre of the city. The new gallery is located in the basement of the Guildhall.With the support of the Trust the Portsmouth International Chamber Music Series, organised by the University of Portsmouth and Music in the Round, moved to the Guildhall to deliver a series of successful ensemble concerts in an interesting and intimate setting.

The Guildhall’s role as an entertainment venue and major conference centre is at the heart of the Trust’s plans for its future: to take the excellent service, events and functions that the Guildhall has delivered in its past and make them even better. Sold-out events in the past have included performances by Mumford & Sons, Scissor Sisters, Micky Flanagan, Simple Minds, Jake Bugg, Stereophonics, The Specials and many more. Smaller events include a range of popular Live Lounge shows (cabaret & jazz) as well as a Comedy line-up.

The Trust is also serious about Classical music, presenting concerts by the likes of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (March 2014), the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (October 2013) and 10+ concerts per year by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, as well as a range of smaller recitals and ensembles. 2013 saw the opening of Access All Areas: The Portsmouth Music Experience and Zodiac Gallery, a free business lounge, and a partnership with e-commerce giant Ticketmaster.

See more at: http://www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk/about-us/portsmouth-cultural-trust#sthash.M2DQfkZT.dpuf


In 2013, as part of the Portsmouth Cultural Trust’s development programme, Mick Cooper, Dave Allen and Nigel Grundy, all with historical knowledge of the Portsmouth Music scene, worked with curator Simon Poole to establish Access all Areas:The Portsmouth Music Experience to celebrate and document the vibrant Portsmouth music scene since the late 1950s.

In 2014 Simon, Dave and Mick left the project to pursue other interests and Nigel Grundy took over responsibility for the Curatorial role and formed the Portsmouth Music Experience Trust and with additional members Phil Freeman, Pete Cross and Audrie Grundy have continued to develop the exhibition. All are volunteers.

The exhibition features local music and venues in Portsmouth during the 1950s and 1960s, later decades will be added as the area develops, each room has it’s own identity and the exhibition is constantly evolving. To enhance the exhibition Trust members welcome memories, ephemera, gig tickets, posters, music press cuttings or music instruments etc. that people may wish to donate or lend to the Trust to copy.

We hope you enjoy looking at the displays and that they may rekindle some of your own memories of local music; the word most commonly used by visitors leaving a message in our comments book is, ‘memories’.

The exhibition is open 9.30am-5pm weekdays.

9.30am-2pm Saturdays.

Admission is free.

Before visiting it is advisable to contact the Guildhall reception on 02393870200 to check the building has not been closed for a function or has been closed due to unforeseen circumstances.