Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and Yeovil's Octagon Theatre have announced a major new partnership that will see the theatre become BSO’s 'home in Somerset'.


The Octagon will become a second base for the BSO when it reopens in 2025, following the £29.01m transformation of the venue into a flagship cultural venue.

The partnership will see the BSO hosting a regular concert series at the venue, alongside an ambitious education and outreach programme designed to bring world-class musical opportunities to residents and visitors of Somerset.

The Octagon Theatre development will see the 622-seat theatre increase to 900 seats, with vastly improved acoustics in the main auditorium plus additional performance and participatory spaces. The venue, which is owned and managed by South Somerset District Council, is also planning to develop a new arts engagement outreach programme. This will allow more people to engage with the creative arts through schools, performances, workshops, regular classes and special projects that will focus on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dougie Scarfe, the orchestra’s chief executive, said: 'We’re thrilled that our partners at The Octagon Theatre and South Somerset District Council share our passion for the empowering impact of live music. We’re looking forward to deepening our relationship with communities in Somerset, with even more live concerts from the full Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, plus family-friendly ‘BSO On Your Doorstep’ chamber-scale concerts, workshops and events.

'Bringing music into people’s lives is why we exist, and we remain committed to reaching people who need our music, now more than ever.'

The Octagon redevelopment project is expected to be completed in 2025. However, Somerset audiences can see the BSO in action on various occasions before then. There will be a programme of symphonic performances by the orchestra and its world-leading conductors and soloists, alongside a greater number of family-friendly ‘BSO On Your Doorstep’ chamber-scale concerts, workshops and events.

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Next up is a concert on Saturday 19 November 2022, when the orchestra and its chief conductor, Kirill Karabits, present an Italian-themed programme including works by Walton, Mendelssohn and Schubert. Soloist for the evening is violinist Ning Feng.

For more info and tickets, visit


Top pic: the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor Kirill Karabits. Pic: Mark Allan


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.