From Penny Arcadia to Pocklington Arts Centre – Discover the Story Behind Historic Venue at New Online Event

Pocklington Arts Centre has been staging events for over 20 years, but have you ever wondered what the Grade II listed building was once used for and how it came to be the award-winning venue that it is today?

A brand new online event, featuring a story about fire-eaters, magicians and amusements, will reveal the history behind the venue on Tuesday 4 May at 7.30pm.

From Penny Arcadia to Pocklington Arts Centre will be presented by Jon Marshall, director and performer with Magic Carpet Theatre, who will take audiences on a trip down memory lane, delving into the origins of the building formerly known as Oak House dating back to the 1700s.

The illustrated, live talk promises to be a fascinating and entertaining online event unveiling the story behind the building from doctor’s house, to cinema, and museum housing Europe’s largest collection of amusement machines, to East Yorkshire’s premier arts venue.

Jon Marshall, who is also a member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, said: “This will be a fascinating and entertaining evening, featuring tales of former owners of the building Jon and Pat Gresham who were larger than life local characters, cinema proprietors and museum curators.”

“All will be revealed about the exploits and colourful adventures of Jon, who was once a magician, fire-eater, pantomime promoter and sideshow showman. And audiences will hear about Pat who was determined that when the Penny Arcadia closed, the building should not become yet another retail unit but instead should provide entertainment and a service to the people of Pocklington and the surrounding area. I had the privilege of knowing the Gresham family for over 50 years, so participants will be able to see many previously unpublished photographs and images from over the years.”

The event will take place live on Zoom. Tickets cost £5 each and go on sale at 10am on Thursday 1 April at

To keep up to date with all of PAC’s planned online and live events follow them on Facebook @pocklingtonartscentre, Instagram @pocklingtonartscentre and twitter @PocklingtonArts