Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts

Our History

Lakeside Arts was established by the University of Nottingham in September 2001, when the Pavilion housing the newly built Djanogly Theatre first opened, adding to the University’s pre-existing arts buildings of the Djanogly Gallery and Djanogly Recital Hall.

The first elements of what would become Lakeside Arts were initially established in the early to mid-1990s after former University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Campbell, set up the Arts Centre Appeal committee to develop an innovative new public art facility and visitor centre at the south entrance to the University on the site of England’s largest outdoor swimming pool facility – Highfields Lido (pictured above). Sir Colin gathered around him a Campaign Team chaired by a great friend and alumnus of the University, Thomas Angear, and including our long-term benefactor Sir Harry Djanogly.

The campaign was extremely successful and in 1992 the Djanogly Gallery – the first truly accessible University of Nottingham arts facility that could be shared with the general public – opened its doors with a Gerhard Richter exhibition. Members of the public were encouraged to come in and find out more about the University in the Visitor Centre, and to enjoy a café frequented by students, staff and the general public alike. 

Two years later the second stage was completed providing the state of the art Djanogly Recital Hall and teaching facilities for the Department of Music; the first public concert took place on 21 October 1994, featuring the premiere of a piece for soprano and piano quintet by alumnus Colin Matthews commissioned especially for the occasion.

The Jubilee Campaign that followed aimed to create a professional theatre space, public exhibition space for Manuscripts & Special Collections and an informal white-box gallery space. Edgar and Judith Wallner, alumni and keen New Theatre members, helped support this development alongside Sir Harry, and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The Pavilion opened in late 2001, and we launched the concept of Lakeside as the combined arts complex at the south entrance.

There have been further additions and developments since: 2004 saw the extension of the Pavilion and the addition of performing arts, visual arts and artist in residence studios which greatly expanded our community learning programme, as well as providing new facilities and opportunities to support artists; and in 2011 the University Museum relocated to Lakeside and the Djanogly Gallery was expanded. This expansion has been the single most impactful recent development having enabled Lakeside to be increasingly ambitious in its exhibition programming.

A great deal has been achieved by colleagues in Lakeside’s first 25 plus years. We’re proud of having over 200,000 people of all ages and abilities engage with us annually. We’ve ensured access, and we’ve never stinted on excellence; we’ve curated landmark exhibitions, performed momentous music, produced and engaged with inspiring drama, dance, and literature, and along the way we’ve supported artists and enriched the lives of many hundreds of thousands of people. Our ongoing development is largely due to the University’s continued commitment and financial support and we’re excited by the unique opportunities that being part of a leading global university presents. Our students and staff are exceptional and we are committed to ensuring that their experience is richly diverse and can also be shared more widely with the public through special initiatives.

The University is extremely grateful to a number of donors who have generously supported the arts developments at Lakeside, including Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly, Thomas and Patricia Angear, Edgar and Judith Wallner, and our many wonderful Lakeside Members and other philanthropic supporters.

Top Facts about Lakeside:

  • The Djanogly Recital Hall is regarded as one of the best in the UK, the superb acoustics in the compact concert hall make it a favourite with the BBC for recording and broadcasting.
  • The University of Nottingham Museum has twice won Museum of the Year in the Nottinghamshire Heritage Awards.
  • Wheee! International Children’s Theatre and Dance Festival has attracted more than 100,000 children and families since it began in 2005.
  • Following a gallery expansion in 2011, the Djanogly Art Gallery’s Lowry exhibition attracted 46,800 visitors.