Arts and Heritage Organisations
Alina is a new professional orchestra that wishes to make classical music accessible & inclusive for everyone in the community. Founded by Chief Executive, Nick Cutts in 2017 and led by Musical Director Hilary Davan Wetton, the orchestra creates concerts that introduce audiences to classical music by presenting excellent musicianship in a friendly and approachable way. The ethos behind everything that Alina Orchestra does is ‘Music for Everyone’. Its dedicated programme of outreach work includes: working with local Care Homes to provide workshops that support those living with Dementia; providing young people from local music hubs with musical opportunities; and creating small events for those members at the heart of the community that, for whatever reason, do not have access to classical music and its many benefits.
Arts for Health (Milton Keynes) uses arts and creativity to improve health and wellbeing. We manage a collection of 390 artworks at Milton Keynes Hospital and also organise a programme of temporary exhibitions for the hospital. The art in the hospital enhances the healthcare environment and helps to engage, soothe and cheer hospital patients, visitors and staff. We also provide opportunities for people to take part in arts activities through our Arts on Prescription programme which work offers free art workshops on referral for people who experience stress, anxiety or depression. People who attend Arts on Prescription report that participation improves their health and wellbeing.
Arts1 School of Performance is an independent theatre school based in Milton Keynes offering a range of quality performing arts classes, training sessions, masterclasses and courses for students aged from 2 years through to adults. The Arts1 mission is to deliver a programme of quality performing arts classes in an aspirational and nurturing environment where students are inspired to develop their skills.
Based in its own premises “The Box Studios” in Linford Wood, Arts1 School of Performance welcomes over 600 students each week as well as running a full time specialist performing arts sixth form for students aged 16 to 19.
Arts Gateway MK is a registered charity formed after more than 20 years as the Milton Keynes Arts Association providing funding and support for the arts. Arts Gateway MK promotes the arts in Milton Keynes via their website, weekly newsletter, social networking & quarterly Mingle Networking Events.
Arts Gateway MK also manages a creative working space, called Arts Central at Kiln Farm.
The Black Sheep Collective came together to develop cultural programmes and events that can be used as a means of community cohesion and inclusion locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; to develop blueprints for creative communities through bold expressions of vision, often defying conformity; and to deliver a range of artistic and creative services to private and public organisations, groups and companies.
Bletchley Park is the historic home of British codebreaking and a birthplace of modern information technology. It played a major role in World War Two, producing secret intelligence which had a direct and profound influence on the outcome of the conflict. Now an internationally renowned site and accredited museum with immersive exhibitions, activities, events, visitors can discover the stories of the incredible men and women whose vital work here stayed secret for so long.
Camphill Milton Keynes has a purpose-built 250-seater theatre, ceramics studio, weavery, vegetarian café, allotments, and upcycling workshop. More than 70 adults with learning disabilities and autism live at Camphill undertaking a range of inspirational and meaningful activities through the experience of living, working, learning, and celebrating in community with others. The residents and other beneficiaries are busy people who are supported by a team of specialists, running daily workshops in horticulture, arts and crafts, tools refurbishment, food production, music, drama, technology and journalism. Each resident is encouraged to live and work as independently as possible within a social and supportive environment.
Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre is an educational charity specialising in history, geography and bespoke experience days for school children, educational, and professional groups of all ages. Based at the beautiful Scheduled Ancient Monument of Bradwell Abbey, MKCDC hosts the New Town Archive for Milton Keynes.
Specialist museum housing collections of Olney and surrounding area – three floors of Georgian heritage and historic gardens. Come and see where C18th poet William Cowper lived and worked and discover the life and work of his friend John Newton – who began his career as a slave trader, became an abolitionist, famous preacher and author of the poem ‘Amazing Grace’. You can also learn more about the town’s role in the lace industry.
Festive Road is a specialist Outdoor Arts Organisation. It develops innovative techniques to make unique, mechanically-powered, giant puppets and structures. Through a fusion of art and engineering, Festive Road brings imagination and technology together in ingenious and inspiring ways – showing that a mixed approach is an asset to creativity. Using recycled materials whenever possible, Festive Road shows that discarded and unwanted items can be given an exciting and creative new lease of life. Advocating for a hands-on approach, it aims to bring communities to life, making ‘art’ relevant, inspirational, participatory and accessible to all.
Fred Roche Foundation
The Fred Roche Foundation creates discussions and debates around Milton Keynes, its urban development and achievements as the New City.
Future Wolverton is a Community Benefit Society with a mission to establish Wolverton as a thriving and sustainable town within the city of Milton Keynes. It does this by enabling an active and involved community to protect and celebrate the unique heritage of Wolverton, while developing new business, housing and community facilities to ensure future prosperity.
Inter-Action MK is an arts charity that has been active across Milton Keynes since 1975. Almost as old as Milton Keynes itself, Inter-Action has been instrumental in helping to strengthen and inspire communities. Based in City Discovery Centre, Inter-Action runs residencies, outdoor participatory events, and invites people to make and experience wonderful things. Focusing on those who face challenge and exclusion, Inter-Action works with and for people with learning and physical needs, mental health issues, unemployed, Carers, homeless people and many others. It also works across Milton Keynes in educational settings and various community initiatives.
Junior Filmmakers is a film-making program aimed at introducing young people to the skills of making films. It has worked with more than 2000 children in and out of schools in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Bedford to produce more than 100 films and hold over 50 film premieres. Young people learn to create film scripts, prepare story boards, crew and cast for their production, carry out pre-production activities and produce their films. It creates learning experiences and opportunities for young people by taking them on trips and organising lectures with industry figures. The films produced are premiered to family, friends and colleagues at a red carpet premiere.
Living Archive is a continuing source of wonderful stories of the new city. Such stories have inspired community documentary plays, films, sculpture, song-writing, books, dance, videos, photos and exhibitions. As a result Living Archive has a considerable community archive of primary source materials available by request.
Milton Keynes Arts Centre is based in the historic grounds of Great Linford Manor Park, providing artist studios and specialist production facilities, including in woodworking, silversmithing and ceramics. These facilities provide multiple entry points for diverse communities to become involved with the centre’s work, to learn life-enhancing skills through working with professional artists, to meet new people and to feel part of a creative and inclusive community.
The Arts Centre also specialises in co-developing projects involving local, national and international artists working with, and in response to briefs determined by, marginalised or disadvantaged communities across Milton Keynes. These projects are designed to address, through creativity, the local and global issues affecting people’s lives: from climate change to poverty, loneliness and social mobility; and through this to support social cohesion, wellbeing, environmental responsibility and skills development.
Performing regularly in and around Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes Chorale is a large auditioned amateur choral society founded in 1974, directed by professional musicians. With a reputation for inventive programming ranging from the renaissance to contemporary, the choir provides an enriching and rewarding series of four concerts each year, frequently alongside professional orchestral ensembles and soloists and in collaboration with other choirs.
Milton Keynes College is the largest provider of further education and training in Milton Keynes. Offering a varied mix of academic, vocational, foundation courses and apprenticeships to a diverse set of students. The College also provides a range of part-time, work-based, community-based, and distance-learning courses. At the heart of the local community, Milton Keynes College strives to transform lives through learning.
The MK Council Culture Team supports Public Art, Heritage and Arts Development within Milton Keynes. It is a forward thinking team delivering to the respective strategies to celebrate the existing and welcome the new through collaborations, creative thinking and innovation.
Milton Keynes Festival Fringe is an annual Festival of Fringe Arts in Milton Keynes, staging new and experimental work including; street arts, performance, outdoor theatre, visual arts, music and dance. The MK Fringe collaborates with organisations & partners across the region to: – Develop joined-up and fully representative festival programmes, including some commissioning, as well as open entry opportunities, for local and regional artists.
Milton Keynes Forum was founded in 1989 as the civic society for Milton Keynes with the intention of encouraging informed participation in the life and development of the city. We hold regular meetings on topics of interest for both members and the wider public and are particularly interested in protecting the modern built heritage of the city. We were the first body to suggest that thecentre:mk should become a listed building.
Milton Keynes Gallery has a changing programme of international contemporary art exhibitions and occasional off site artist’s projects. A stimulating programme of public talks, tours, artist-led workshops, education activities and family days cater for all ages.
Milton Keynes Heritage Association was formed in 1993 to co-ordinate & support heritage activities and development in and around Milton Keynes. There are now over 70 member heritage groups. Its most important achievement has been to host a comprehensive website where you can find lots of information about Milton Keynes and the surrounding area (see link above). A fortnightly newsletter, which anyone can sign up to free of charge, which provides details of the regular talks and events organised by MKHA members.
Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture(MKIAC) is a national award-winning charity working in Buckinghamshire. It is inspired by Islamic arts, heritage and culture that encompasses both traditional and contemporary art forms. MKIAC delivers a broad spectrum of inclusive arts-based events throughout the year. It is at the forefront of inclusion and diversity for the creative sector in Milton Keynes. MKIAC was established in response to 9/11 in 2002. It uses the arts as a vehicle to overcome societal divisions and provide a sense of community in our city.
Milton Keynes Museum is a fantastic day out for all the family with interactive, themed galleries, exploring the history of the area since 1800. Housed in a beautiful Victorian farmstead the large, changing selection of displays includes working telephones, a street of shops, agricultural barn, hall of transport and much more. Wonderful, homemade food in the Granary Tearoom.
Milton Keynes theatre offers a wide and varied programme of first class dance, drama, musicals, opera, comedy and children’s shows.
MÓTUS is a celebration of all forms of dance across the city of Milton Keynes looking to enhance dance activity for all, whatever age, or ability. It aims to be inclusive and innovative in approach and delivery, working together with dance artists and more collaboratively with other art forms and the wider community in Milton Keynes. Creating both intimate and large-scale commissions MÓTUS’s Artistic Director has worked as a lead choreographer for the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Paralympics as well as working nationally in collaboration with Swindon Dance, Dancefest and the Taliesen Arts Centre creating sited and promenade works. Other cooperative works include curating International Dance Day and producing ‘Warriors’ for the UEFA Women’s European Championships.
Urja Desai Thakore is the Director of Pagrav Dance Company, established in 1997.
Pagrav Dance Company promotes traditional Kathak Dance in its purest form, whilst giving it a modern context and presentation. Alongside full performances, the company ails to provide a platform for emerging dancers based in Milton Keynes and London. In 2009 Pagrav Dance Company successfully toured its first full scale work ‘Baharan’ to 8 different venues across the UK.
The Public Arts Trust is a charity set up to deal with the urgent matter of the condition of existing public art in Milton Keynes, in particular the sculptures. This is a large and potentially costly task, involving inventories, condition reports, conservation plans, sourcing of funds etc. We appreciate the need to win support from various bodies, both public and private, and to establish good working partnerships for the years ahead.
An intimate 250 seat theatre and gallery space. The theatre programme comprises comedy, contemporary drama and family-friendly children’s theatre. The theatre is available for hire and supports local productions including musical theatre, big bands, choirs and dance.
The Stony Stratford Literary Circle co-ordinates the annual festival StonyWords which occurs at the end of January and beginning of February. This festival celebrates the word in all its formats: writing, drama, film, music and performance. It brings together local, regional, national and international artists, writers and performers to contribute to the cultural life of Milton Keynes. Though based in Stony Stratford, it is an established part of the Milton Keynes scene. The Circle also arranges other events during the year, often in partnership with other groups in Stony and MK.
The Cenotaph Trust was registered as a charity in 2011. It was formed to establish a place in Central Milton Keynes which could be used by the people of Milton Keynes for commemoration, contemplation and celebration. Working in collaboration with the Parks Trust and the Council, Gordon Young, was commissioned to design the piece. In consultation with the public, Gordon came to the conclusion that a calendar of dates marking key events in the life of Milton Keynes should be provided. His design is based on the shape of a flower, hence the name, Milton Keynes Rose, and the key dates are depicted in pillars inscribed with the date and the reason for their inclusion. Nearly half of the pillars have not been inscribed so that future dates of significance can be added. The intention is that each pillar will be the centre of an event marking the date from year to year.
Established as a charity in 1992 The Parks Trust expertly cares for over 6,000 acres of green space in Milton Keynes including river valleys, ancient woodlands, lakes, parks and landscaped areas along the city’s grid roads. In addition to managing and developing local landscapes, the charity’s staff and volunteers also work hard to support local wildlife and biodiversity, provide valuable facilities for park users, deliver extensive education programmes and connect communities with events and activities.
The Plays The Thing is an exciting professional theatre company for Milton Keynes. It aims to produce challenging and thought provoking work from the classical canon, to modern plays and work from new writers. It has an educational strand to its work, running regular workshops, master classes, courses and play readings.
A live music venue putting on over 350 concerts and a similar number of educational activities every year. The concert programme crosses genres – folk, world, rock, pop, classical, country, jazz – whatever you like, you’ll find it at The Stables! We also host a programme of conferences and every two years produce IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, engaging people with music and sound in unexpected ways in unusual spaces.
Westbury Arts Centre, located on Milton Keynes’ west flank, by Shenley Wood, and has been home to artists since the 1980s and a charity since 2013. Based in a Grade II listed building – a former 17th-Century moated manor house – we offer 19 studios for permanent and temporary rent and also can provide a number of public rooms and exhibition spaces at affordable rates. We run a varied Events Programme to the public that includes creative workshops, exhibitions and events such as MK Open and Heritage Open Days.
Community Action (Strategic Member)
Community Action: MK is an infrastructure organisation supporting the vibrant Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise ( (VCSE) Sector in Milton Keynes. It provides a diverse range of services for Milton Keynes communities, focusing on meeting the needs of local people and giving them the skills and confidence to shine. Community Action has run a range of innovative and highly successful projects for over 40 years, and believes that with a bit of help, communities can do great things to become strong, resilient and sustainable. Education, empowerment and enabling is at the heart of Community Action’s work, as it influences and shapes grass-roots decision making in Milton Keynes.
Destination MK (Strategic Member)
Destination Milton Keynes is the organisation charged with highlighting the visitor economy within Milton Keynes. DMK’s prime objective is ‘to make Milton Keynes a destination of choice’ – focused on retail leisure and hospitality with a strong emphasis on art and culture too. The organisation prides itself in providing a website that is a portal for the city of Milton Keynes, and its strong social media channels help all organisations increase visitor numbers to the city. It strengthens and amplifies its members messages to ensure maximum visibility and awareness of everything that Milton Keynes has to offer. The modern website tells the Milton Keynes story and directs people to the venues, events, services, and retailers, that make our modern city unique and a great place to visit, stay, play, live and do business.
Heritage MK aims to unite heritage and culture to business within the City of Milton Keynes, in order to protect, preserve and promote our city’s past for the future. It works alongside and with Milton Keynes Council to ensure that our history is an integral part of the future of the city. It strives to ensure that the City offers all residents, visitors, tourists and businesses the opportunity to see old places from new spaces.
The MK Community Foundation is an independent charity working for and at the heart of Milton Keynes. They connect people and resources to projects and ideas to create positive change and long term solutions for MK communities. Whether it’s offering resources to support the vital work of the voluntary sector or providing the solution for donors who want to give back to this community, MK Community Foundation’s focus is about enriching lives and making Milton Keynes even better, both today and for the future. Over the last 36 years MK Community Foundation has built a reputation for excellence in developing community philanthropy.