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Welcome to The Institute: Braintree's Historic Theatre and Community Hub!

Built in 1862, The Institute holds a rich history that resonates with the local community. This Grade II listed building was a gift from the Courtauld family to the people of Braintree. Affectionately known as the Institute by the locals for many years, it has been a cherished gathering place for generations.

In 2011, The Bocking Arts Theatre Trust took over the management of this treasured establishment and renamed it The Bocking Arts Theatre. Since then it has hosted various shows and events, including a yearly pantomime and the popular Braintree Comedy Club.

In 2023, a new chapter began with the arrival of two new directors, Jim Hollands and Lewis Codling. Drawing from their extensive experience in the theatre industry, Jim and Lewis stepped forward with a bold vision to renovate and revitalise The Institute, transforming it into a premier theatre destination that will attract high-caliber shows and events. You can learn more about the renovation project and hear about the latest updates here.

The Institute continues to be a home to artistic expression, community engagement and cultural experiences. Alongside its role as a theatre, this magnificent building is also home to the Braintree Antiques Centre, adding an additional layer of charm and fascination. With its versatile spaces, The Institute is available for hire, providing a unique and memorable setting for a wide range of occasions.

The Institute remains deeply committed to its role as a vibrant community hub. It plays host to various community events, offers space for local dance schools, and hosts the annual Real Ale Festival. The Institute also proudly supports the NHS by providing a regular venue for blood donations.

As of 2023 the theatre is returning to the name that resonates with the people of Braintree—The Institute. Under the guidance of its new directors and with the support of the local community, The Institute will once again become a thriving cultural hub, where exceptional performances, creative endeavours and community connections intertwine.

We invite you to join us on this remarkable journey and welcome the local community to come and say hi and see what's going on. The Institute promises a future brimming with creativity, inspiration, and entertainment. Be part of our story as we embark on these exciting times ahead.

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