The Stables (also known as the Stables Theatre) is a music venue situated in Wavendon, a small village on the south-east edge of Milton Keynes. The Stables hosts over 350 concerts and around 250 education events a year including the National Youth Music Camps which take place over the summer.
Stockwell Lane, Wavendon|
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England
|Owner||Wavendon Allmusic Plan Ltd|
|Capacity||398 (Jim Marshall Auditorium)|
The Stables was founded by John Dankworth and Cleo Laine in 1970 in the old stables block in the grounds of their home. It was an immediate success with 47 concerts given in the first year. It now presents over 350 concerts and around 250 education events in its two spaces: The 400 seat Jim Marshall Auditorium and 80 seat studio space - Stage 2. On 6 February 2010 it celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala concert which was tinged with sadness because of the death earlier in the day of Sir John Dankworth. The venue was completely rebuilt in 2000, with the new foyer following the plan of the original theatre, with a subsequent development in 2007 to create Stage 2.
The Stables has hosted internationally renowned performers including Dave Brubeck, Amy Winehouse, Joan Armatrading, Courtney Pine, Janis Ian, Craig David, Beverly Knight, 10cc, Uriah Heep, Jamie Cullum, Bill Wyman, Cerys Matthews, Nigel Kennedy, Nils Lofgren, Steve Hackett, James Galway, Beth Neilsen Chapman and Curtis Stigers.
It has hosted many live broadcasts including BBC Radio 2's Live from the Stables series, BBC Radio 3 recitals and recordings of CDs and DVDs including Never the Bride. The Stables commissioned the Harbour of Songs album, produced by Adrian McNally from the Unthanks and released on Proper Records in July 2012. It includes songs by Guy Chambers, Janis Ian, the Unthanks, Villagers, Sarah Blasko, Ian MacMillan, Ralph McTell and Nick Hornby.
Its learning and participation programme features workshops, masterclasses and residential courses. Alumni from the National Youth Music Camps, founded by Avril Dankworth, include Guy Chambers, Dominic Miller and Thom Yorke.
The Stables is run by a group of four companies:
A holding company, Wavendon Allmusic Plan Ltd (WAP), is a private company limited by guarantee and a registered charity (no 261645) with an aim to engage the widest range of people with music in all its diversity.  It is managed by a board of trustees which is responsible for policy and strategic direction. Then there are three wholly owned subsidiary companies, Stables Theatre Ltd, Stables Events Ltd and Stables Trading Ltd, which carry out the operational activities of the company.
Dame Cleo Laine is Life President and Dame Evelyn Glennie is a patron. The late Sir George Martin was also a patron. Monica Ferguson is the Chief Executive and Artistic Director. The Stables also produces IF: Milton Keynes International Festival a multi-arts festival that engages people with music and sound in surprising ways in unusual spaces and places. The biennial festival, founded in 2010, runs for 10 days in July across central Milton Keynes.
The Stables is supported by around 300 volunteers and provides training and apprenticeships.
- Kate Barrett, Monica Ferguson, editors. The Stables - Inside Story. Great Britain: The Stables Trading Ltd, 2005.
- Charity Commission. WAVENDON ALL MUSIC PLAN LIMITED, registered charity no. 261645.