The stunning Arts Centre located in the heart of Bracknell Forest will be celebrating 50 years of success across the arts and theatre scene.

The South Hill Park mansion, built in 1760 was converted into an Arts Centre in 1973 to provide a number of different spaces for the local community involved in a variety of creative disciplines.

Dubbed as the creative heart of Berkshire, this beautiful 17th-century mansion is set on the grounds of South Hill Park.

The Bracknell Development Corporation started looking into proposals for an arts centre in 1969 after Bracknell became a new town in 1949 and South Hill Park was considered.

The South Hill Park Trust was granted a 125-year lease for the property, which then began to develop the historic building into an arts centre containing art spaces, classrooms and dance studios.

Although it first opened in October 1973 with a range of courses and activities, the conversion works to complete the terrace bar and other areas were still underway until 1974.

By the beginning of 1975, all general facilities were open.

Although originally a two-story mansion, the converted arts centre has three floors and close to 60 rooms.

Later phases of the arts centre included the iconic Wile Theatre which features the bigger theatre productions year-round.

The fully functioning theatre was proposed after South Hill Park became an arts centre and has since drawn thousands of people to the area.

The building was created in partnership of the local community and businesses who provided funding.

The architect was Axel Burrough. Alongside Ian MacKintosh they designed the theatre on the principle of a courtyard theatre inspired by the theatres in Shakespeare’s time.

This was officially opened by Princess Anne on May 15 1984. The theatre was named after Oscar Wilde due to his local association with the area. The first performance at the Bracknell venue was The Importance of Being Earnest.

To this day, the arts centre provides spaces for people and groups across the local community to express their passions through art, theatre and dance.

In 2002, South Hill Park was transformed after receiving £3 million from the Arts Council of England National Lottery Board and £1 million from Bracknell Forest Council.