The STERTS Story

Sterts was created by Ewart and Ann Sturrock

Ewart studied theatre at Bretton Hall where he met Anne who was studying music. Many years later when he was teaching at Looe, Ewart became increasingly aware that there was a lack of facilities and resources for creative work to take place. 

Linked to this he became aware that the nature of our educational establishments; be they schools, colleges or universities tended to favour those whose gifts were already manifest. In the process many young and not so young people whose talents were not so obvious, emerged with little sense of worth and a profound lack of awareness of their own creative capability.

They were convinced that there was a need to provide an arts and environmental centre designed to fulfill a long existing desire for children, young people and adults to meet and work together in a suitable equipped centre

In 1982 they took the calculated risk of buying the barns and outbuildings originally belonging to the farmhouse that they owned. These buildings now form the core of Sterts. The transformation from pig farm to arts centre had begun.

At this time Sterts became a registered charity. In 1988 after obtaining funding from the ERDF, Jubilee Fund, Prince’s Trust and Tourist Board the studio, toilets and offices were built.

The opening of Sterts Open Air Theatre on 2nd June 1990 represented a huge achievement for the centre and also a milestone for the arts in Cornwall. Although the opening night, (Othello directed by Ewart), was performed to 300 people sheltering under umbrellas, only 3 performances were stopped by rain that summer.

In 1990/91 the Hall Gallery was constructed and opened in May 1991 due to a generous donation by FD Hall the contractors.  Artist Annie Ovenden was unstinting in her support of Sterts not only as a trustee but offering her many talents to all aspects of the work of the centre.

Sterts ran for four seasons either with no protection for the audience or a range of temporary canopies that dripped a copious amount of water on the unsuspecting public. In May 1994 Peter Brook the Minister for the Arts opened the new waterproof canopy.

Throughout its thirty year history the building of the centre with its Studio, Gallery and Open Air Theatre has enabled many thousands of people drawn from all sections of the community to enjoy and take part in creating art in all of its forms.

Ewart had to retire as Centre Director several years ago due to ill health and sadly passed away in 2015. The present leadership team are working hard to build on what Anne & Ewart have achieved and hold firmly to the belief that everyone is creative.