Hiring the Abbey for a Small Concert

Thank you for your interest in booking our Abbey for your small concert.  We have regular bookings for small concerts, from piano recitals to quartets, and have areas which provide a more intimate setting away from the grand space of the Nave.

Venue Spaces

The Shrine Chapel is usually used, where performers and audience can enjoy a more intimate performance space together.   It is also possible to use the West End of the Abbey – a more open space with scope for a larger performing space.  Here is a to scale floor plan of the Abbey

The Shrine Chapel

quintessentialThe Shrine Chapel is used as an area for smaller concerts and recitals, conferences and workshops

For recitals, it can seat approximately 50-70, depending on the amount of space required by the performers.  This space has no pews, so the Abbey chairs, of which we have 170 available to hirers, can be flexibly arranged to allow for different types of performance.

est endThe West End

A more open performing area, the West End of the Abbey can be used with either a performing area against the North Wall or with a performance on the People’s Chapel steps.

It can seat approximately 100, depending on the amount of space required by the performers.  This space has no pews, so the Abbey chairs, of which we have 170 available to hirers, can be flexibly arranged to allow for different types of performance, including chairs and tables for a cafe style setup.

Performers Green Rooms

There are a variety of Green rooms available at the Abbey:

  • Conductors, Principals or small groups usually use the Sacristy, situated just off the Chancel with direct access to the performing area, toilet facilities and the Cloister Garden
  • Large groups can use the Guest House meeting rooom

Facilities and Support

Instruments and Music Stands

The Abbey has a very good grand piano (Yamaha), recently rebuilt Walker organ (with over 2000 pipes and the latest computer-assisted registration changes) and a chamber organ, which can all be hired for a reasonable rates and an electric piano that can be used free of charge. Hirers must bring their own music stands.  It is not possible to move the grand piano to the West End of the Abbey.

Concert Managers

FelixThe Abbey provides a volunteer Concert Manager to assist all hirers during the period of their event at the Abbey. The Concert Manager meets the hirer on arrival to ensure that organisers have access to all they need for the set-up period, then remains on call during the rehearsal period, and looks after the venue at the concert/event.

Sound system

The Abbey has a state-of-the art sound system, including lapel, hand-held and lectern microphones, all included in the hire. With notice we can also set up an additional 12 microphones but these may require the hirer to pay for set up and sound management for the event.  CDs may also be played over the system.


The Abbey has recently finished a complete refurbishment of its lighting system, providing us with modern, controllable and efficient lighting which enhances the building.  Replacing the old sodium lights in the building with over 200 modern LED lights has transformed the way that the Abbey looks at all times of day and the new lights are much more controllable, through simple one button settings on a wall pad and also through an iPhone app, providing us with the capability to switch on and dim any light for an event or service.
Customised lighting for specific events must be requested and arranged in advance


At the back of the Abbey behind the West End of the Nave. This area is suitable for serving simple refreshments such as tea, coffee, cakes, sandwiches, or alcoholic drinks and canapes. It is not a fully equipped kitchen and does not have an oven, but does have a warming cupboard.


Responsibility for marketing hire events in the Abbey lies with the hirer. If full details of programme, prices and box office details are supplied, the Abbey can support hirers in marketing their concert/event in the following ways:

  • Listing in the Concerts and Events page of this website
  • Listing in the monthly Abbey events e-newsletter (325 subscribers as at July 2015)
  • Submission to the listing section of the Dorchester News parish magazine (copy required by the Editor by 10th of month prior to your booking)
  • Display of A4 poster on the Events noticeboard in the Abbey
  • Display of flyers in the leaflet rack at the entrance of the Abbey.  Posters and other literature must not be put in the Abbey or on noticeboards without permission from the Events Hire Manager.