Get behind the scenes at Bournemouth’s iconic venues

Bournemouth Pavilion theatre and ballroom built in the 1920s, is once more taking part in this year’s Dorset Architectural Heritage Week celebrations.

Taking place from 8-17 September 2023, the theatre’s younger sister venue, Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) which opened in 1984, will also be participating in the lineup for the first time.

Both venues will be running behind-the-scenes tours, giving visitors greater insight into the venue’s architecture, history, and the chance to learn more about the vital role they play in the town hosting cultural shows and events and more.

At Bournemouth Pavilion there will be a revealing look inside the theatre. Its team, who are also local experts, will guide visitors around providing anecdotal commentary with lesser-known facts about the theatre’s history. Visitors will be able to explore the building’s more intricate workings in the wings which includes original stage equipment, fly floors and the stage loading gallery. Tours at the BIC will also be taking place around its four main event halls.

Registered charity BH Live operates both venues in partnership with BCP Council.

On behalf of BH Live, Steve Turner, Associate Director of Venues said;

It’s a wonderful opportunity to once more work alongside Dorset Architectural Heritage Week and give visitors a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes of these fantastic venues. Bournemouth Pavilion, opened in 1929, is the town’s only Grade II Listed Art Deco theatre and ballroom and it is rich in history and heritage.

“Despite being a relatively new building on the block (opened in 1984) the BIC has become a much-regarded arena hosting year-round entertainment, conferences and exhibitions. Both play a vital role in the community, bringing visitors into the region and contributing to the towns’ cultural and economic prosperity.”

He adds,

“The BIC is actually participating for the first time thanks to a request at last year’s Pavilion tour.  It’s important we always consider customer feedback so we are delighted to include both venues in this year’s Dorset Architectural Heritage Week program.”

Councillor Andy Martin, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Communications and Culture at BCP Council said:

“What a fantastic chance to experience both these venues from a different perspective! The Bournemouth Pavilion has such an extraordinary history, playing host over the years to some of the biggest stars in the business – from Marlene Dietrich and Dame Margot Fonteyn to Rachmaninov and Muddy Waters.

“Although newer, with a capacity of 10,000 visitors the BIC is now the major venue for Bournemouth and for the south coast, and this an exciting opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes here.”

Dorset Architectural Heritage Week events are completely free of charge.

Spaces are limited and tickets must be booked in advance via Eventbrite from 9am on Friday 4 August 2023.

Every event during this weeklong celebration will also be a national Heritage Open Day event. Tours last 90 minutes and each booking is for maximum of 20 people. Some areas contain steep stairs.

More details and event booking can be found online via the Dorset Architectural Heritage Week website.



Bournemouth Pavilion
Friday 8 September at 10am                  Monday 11 September 10am
Tuesday 12 September 10am                Tuesday 12 September 2pm
Wednesday 13 September 10am           Thursday 14 September 10am

Bournemouth International Centre
Wednesday 13 September 2.30pm                     Thursday 14 September 2.30pm

About BH Live
BH Live is a leading operator of leisure and event venues; a registered charity and social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.

For more visit
Get social with us: LinkedIn, Twitter @BHLIVE_UK and Facebook @SocialEnterpriseBHLive

For more information about BH Live please contact:

T: (01202) 055562

About Bournemouth International Centre
Bournemouth International Centre is operated by BH Live in partnership with BCP Council.
Set in the heart of Bournemouth, with panoramic views across the bay, it is the south coast’s premier conference, exhibition, entertainment, and hospitality venue, with licensed capacity for up to 10,000 visitors.  Four main halls and a variety of smaller meeting and hospitality areas can be scaled to host events such as multi-hall conferences, exhibitions, meetings, music concerts, dance and comedy performances.

For more visit
Get social with us: Instagram @BournemouthInternationalCentre /
FB @BournemouthInternationalCentre / @BICbournemouth

About Bournemouth Pavilion
Bournemouth Pavilion is operated by BH Live in partnership with BCP Council. This Grade II listed venue opened in March 1929. It has a 1,500-seat theatre and full-sized ballroom. The venue hosts musicals, opera, ballet, pantomime, comedy, gala dinners, banquets, receptions, fairs, dances and fashion shows throughout the year. Its facilities complement events at Bournemouth International Centre and for corporate presentations, product launches, and smaller conferences and exhibitions. Bournemouth Pavilion is also home to Pavilion Dance South West and the Pavilion at AUB rehearsal and teaching space for the Arts University Bournemouth.

For more visit
Get social with us: Instagram @BournemouthPavilion / FB @BournemouthPavilionTheatre / Twitter @BournemouthPav