The Marlowe
The Marlowe Kit Project

The Marlowe Kit Project

Developing the creative lives of young people.

We work with young people to develop their creative talents and future careers, through theatre workshops and skills training, partnering with those who are most in need of cultural and creative opportunities.

Since 2017, all of this creative participation activity with young people and the community has happened at the Marlowe Kit (also known as the Poor Priests Hospital), situated on Stour Street in Canterbury. The Marlowe Kit is a Grade I and II listed, 12th Century heritage building, in very close proximity to the Marlowe Theatre. Our Youth Company classes meet, learn and rehearse here, as do the students of the Marlowe Academy of Performing Arts.

We are now at the limits of our capacity for this work within the Kit – our Youth Theatre is oversubscribed, and all our bursary spaces are currently full. We must ensure that the performing arts are accessible to a wide and diverse range of people, to build their skills and love of theatre but also to ensure the future of our industry is robust with voices from all backgrounds.

The building itself also has reached its limits, and requires significant restoration work to stabilise and preserve it for future generations. Once used as the Canterbury Heritage Museum, the Kit has many modern interventions that make it inaccessible and difficult to navigate. Once the building is restored, it needs a sensitive renovation that will enable it to fulfil its potential — as a purpose-designed learning centre, and to open up its other remarkable spaces to the public.

Find out more about the work that happens at the Marlowe Kit:

The vision

Our vision is to preserve, protect, and re-present the Marlowe Kit into a world-class Creative Learning Centre for Kent. Young people will be able to thrive, develop their creative lives, feel a sense of belonging and place, learn new leadership and theatre-making skills and find pathways into employment in the performing arts.

As well as the Creative Learning Centre, the Marlowe Kit will be a beautifully presented and free-to-access heritage destination. Visitors and the local community will be able to discover about the past in exciting ways, contributing to the revitalising of a neglected area of the city centre.

Making it happen

The project will cost approximately £7 million in total. We are delighted to have been successful in securing an initial grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £600,000 to develop the project prior to submitting a Delivery Phase application for the remainder of the NLHF funding in 2 years’ time. The project will also involve a significant private fundraising campaign to match fund the Heritage Fund grant.

We are building a fundraising campaign led by passionate advocates who share our ambitions to match fund the project.

If you would like to know more about this exciting project, please email our Development Team.