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Your Reaction: Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton to close
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- Brewhouse Theatre calls in administrators
- More than 50 staff to lose their jobs
- Closure of the charity-run centre blamed on funding cuts
- Ticket holders for cancelled shows may lose out
THIS live article has now finished.
For the latest updates on the Brewhouse closure, click here .
There was a huge turnout at the candlelit vigil outside the Brewhouse this evening (Thursday) where people shared their memories of the much loved theatre.
Jacky Lacy who worked on the bar at the Brewhouse said: “We lost our jobs today. It was a shock, we didn’t know anything about it, it was very sudden I feel lost. Everybody knew everybody else. It wasn’t so big that you were anonymous but it has got to grow. It is just a shame that the powers that be feel we are not worth keeping on.”
Trustee Stephen Martin-Scott said: “I think it is a hugely sad day for Taunton and it is really regrettable that no one seems to have stood up to the plate to address the clear issues that have been demonstrated to the local authorities and the Arts Council for the last five years. Everybody just thought the problems would go away.”
Viv Phillips said: “Our daughter was the box office and front of house manager. We are devastated, not only for her but everybody. We hope it will reopen. It is being outshone by Yeovil.”
12:28pm Thu 21 Feb 13
Yes, I also heard the Cricket Ground have shown large interest in the site for a Car Park. Only time will tell.
4:28pm Thu 21 Feb 13
St. Austell says
The Brewhouse in Taunton has been no more than as disaster waiting to happen. It is so small that it has
never been able to accommodate any large concert, unlike days of old when the venue was the old cinema
in Corporation Street, so most of what has been on offer has been mediocre at best: international celebrities just aren't interested in the Taunton venue. The fact that it has attracted 55 staff for a 352 seat theatre can not done anything other than contribute to the disaster. The upshot is that Taunton is little better than when it was branded "Cider City" in the days when entertainment centred upon fights in
Station Road and a dances in the Empire Room at the rear of the Trust Forte County Hotel.
LYNDA Bellingham, actress and presenter on ITV show Loose Women has expressed her sadness at the closure of the Brewhouse where she performed in its first ever show, Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquest.
Lynda, who performed at the theatre alongside David Jason back in 1977, told the County Gazette: “I remember the Brewhouse very well. We were playing in a wonderful play at the time.
“Actually I remember the week because I bought a brand new bright yellow VW beetle and drove it back to London very carefully to run it in and then on the Sunday someone drove the wrong way down a one way street and I was driving my lovely new car the right way! It was a write off!
“I am sad that the theatre is to close. There are so few local theatres anymore and they perform such a vital part of community life not to mention employment for actors. Times are changing and not always for the better.”
THIS notice was placed on the door of The Brewhouse today.
FULL statement from administrators BDO LLP:
BDO LLP business restructuring partners, Simon Girling and Graham Randall were appointed Joint Administrators over The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre on February 21, 2013.
The Brewhouse, based in Taunton, Somerset, is a 352 seat theatre venue offering various programmes including drama, dance, comedy, music, workshops and art exhibitions.
Due to financial constraints, the business has ceased to trade and all 48 employees have been made redundant prior to the administrators’ appointment.
Simon Girling, BDO business restructuring partner, said:
“We appreciate that this will be a sad day for Taunton and the surrounding area, as the Brewhouse was a well-respected cultural venue.
"Unfortunately, the economic climate has significantly affected the business, and the facilities themselves meant The Brewhouse was overlooked by the biggest shows and theatre companies.
“As Administrators, our first step will be to investigate any and all options which would allow theatre to continue at the Brewhouse in the immediate future.
"This could potentially involve granting a license to a third party or a community organisation to operate the Brewhouse for a specified period.
“BDO, with Savills, will also immediately commence the search for a purchaser for the Brewhouse lease in order to secure the long term future of the theatre.
“Ticketholders for future shows should refer to the Brewhouse website www.thebrewhouse.net for further information.”
MARK Thomas's gig, which was due to be held at The Brewhouse tomorrow night, will go ahead at the new venue of Junction 24, near Bridgwater, it has been confirmed.
Tickets for the original show remain valid, although the performance will not start until 8.45pm, to allow time for people to travel to North Petherton from The Brewhouse.
TICKET holders for cancelled shows will NOT receive automatic refunds, the administrators of the Brewhouse have said.
In a message posted in the window of the venue, BDO LLP say:
CLOSURE OF THE THEATRE
The theatre, cafe, workspaces and restaurant have been closed to the public, and no further shows or performances will take place until further notice. The Joint Administrators have been appointed to explore all available options to the venue.
Due to the Company's insolvency, any payments made to the Company for advance ticket purchases cannot be refunded. Ticketholders may rank as unsecured creditors against the Company for the value of tickets purchased.
In order that the Administrators may collate all such claims against the Company on a timely basis, please would ticketholders forward copies of all tickets purchased plus their payment receipt and their full contact details to the Administrators.
Ticketholders may wish to contact their credit card provider in order to explore the possibility of a refund.
To write to BDO LLP, write to:
BDO LLP, Bridgewater House, Finzels Reach, Counterslip, Bristol, BS1 6BX
A bad day for theatre: Closure of #Brewhouse and @oldvictunnels sees two examples of venues that connected with their audiences disappearing— @filskittheatre 21 February 2013
SPEAKING today, Max Hebditch, chairman of the Taunton Cultural Consortium, said: “This is a terrible loss.
"Art, music and theatre are the soul of any town – especially in this time of recession. They are what make Taunton attractive to the new businesses we need.
"They work with our new museums, county cricket ground and improved public spaces to make Taunton a new regional centre.”
10:03am Thu 21 Feb 13
Sad day for whats left of Taunton, not much of a County town to write about, there really is nothing left to close. Most of the high St shops and old nightclub haven't been open for years. We moved here 12 years ago and it was a bustling little County Town, but slowly over the years its fallen badly by the wayside. There is going to be nothing left soon to visit or see. The Council have spent 3 million turning Castle Green into an open space that they haven't used and people are parking there again, what a waste of money and left The Brewhouse underfunded, they should be ashamed of themselves. Will the last person to leave please switch the lights out!!...
ARTS lovers in Taunton have left angry messages bemoaning the closure of the Brewhouse on hoardings outside the neighbouring Edwardo's restaurant, which has also been closed.
One example reads:
WRITING in today's Somerset County Gazette, Brewhouse founder-chairman Cllr John Meikle has called for volunteers to come forward to help reopen the popular town centre venue.
Read his call to arms here .
Here's how some of Somerset's other arts venues have responded to The Brewhouse's closure.
Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre director Charlie Dearden said: “It is a great loss for Taunton and the many people and groups that use the facility, as well as those who have lost their jobs.
“When you remember what a prominent role it played last year in Taunton’s jubilee celebrations it is very sad.
“Arts funding is a huge issue in Somerset, as it is across the whole country, and it is a regrettable that the arts, culture and creative industry has been so badly hit by the cuts.”
Ray Tew, (pictured above) chair of Minehead's Regal Theatre: "The Brewhouse is a major venue in the county town of Somerset.
"I hope this will be a wake-up call to all those in a position of influence to really consider what's important in terms of cultural life in this country.
"We have to look for a way forward to make this important historical venue survive."
Bridgwater Arts Centre board member and trustee Carol Bovett said: “All of us are shocked and saddened to hear that The Brewhouse is closing.
“We understand how difficult coping with a lack of funds is in any business, particularly the arts and among our patrons, but even though this is a sad sign of the country’s economic situation we endeavour to keep going.”
STAFF at the Brewhouse have made their view on its closure clear by posting these messages on the outside of the building:
8:51am Thu 21 Feb 13
Taunton John says
I blame the Brew House Management. The theater worked very well in the days of volunteers. They only had five or six paid staff. Finding funding for 55 staff in such a small venue was never going to go well. What were they thinking of?
11:40pm Wed 20 Feb 13
Why don't TDBC reinstate Castle Green to a car park? The income generated could subsidise the theatre and the reinstatement of this previously shoppers car-park will help the letting of the nearby (soon-to-close) HMV store
BREWHOUSE chief executive and artistic director Robert Miles blames the theatre’s demise on “years of underfunding”.
Writing in The Brewhouse Bulletin in today's County Gazettte, Mr Miles warns that county council grant cuts which, in turn, have deterred handouts from the Arts Council, mean venues across Somerset are struggling to survive.
He writes: “Our boarded-up building in the centre of the county town will be the most visible sign of the disintegration of the cultural landscape in our beautiful county.”
He adds that the Brewhouse’s closure will hit the local economy – he believes the centre generated £4million of spending in the town every year through customers using restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels and car parks in the area.
Mr Miles pays tribute to the many talented people who have appeared at the Brewhouse over the years.
He adds: “The team here were genuinely the best in the country – not just good at their jobs but passionate about their work and lovely genuine people.
“The Brewhouse has a fantastic reputation in the industry for punching above its weight and I cannot praise our staff and volunteers highly enough.”
Mr Miles is hopeful that, in the future, Taunton will get “the bigger theatre and arts centre it deserves and needs”.
Patch Jobson, marketing and events manager of the venue Junction 24 near North Petherton.
AN OFFER of an alternative venue for shows due to be staged at The Brewhouse has come forward from Junction 24 near North Petherton.
With an arena that can hold 1,600 people seated and 2,500 standing, the venue has more than enough capacity to act as a replacement.
Junction 24’s marketing and events manager, Patch Jobson, said: “We don’t want The Brewhouse to close at all – it is one of the most important venues in Somerset – but if they can’t carry on here, we would like to offer our space.
“We are not doing this for financial gain – we are doing it to see if we can somehow keep it open. If we do lose the theatre it will be a very sad day.
“We all work together – everyone brings their own thing to the region. It’s a jigsaw puzzle and if we lose one piece, it makes it harder for the rest of us.
“We have already sent out emails to producers of the shows due to go ahead and I have been on the phone since 7am today to tell someone there is an offer on the table.”
Mr Jobson is urging someone from or representing The Brewhouse to get in touch with him as soon as possible.
He is contactable by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01278-662200 and asking for his mobile number.
#SaveTheBrewhouse.” thoughts go out to everybody working there!— @moscowdrugclub 21 February 2013
My thoughts are with everybody at the Brewhouse- it would be a huge loss to the community #SaveTheBrewhouse— @samdavisSW 21 February 2013
Very sad news about Taunton's Brewhouse closing today, it's an asset to the South West. We think everyone should #SaveTheBrewhouse.— @BristolOldVic 21 February 2013
Please retweet as Taunton needs you . The Brewhouse theatre is to close tomorrow . We can't let tis happen #savethebrewhouse— @Madtribe 21 February 2013
Closure of theatre impacts on many. So sorry for the students preparing their final pieces to be shown there #savethebrewhouse— @SugaredPill 21 February 2013
MANY people in Taunton are waking up to the news that the town's Brewhouse Theatre has closed its doors following a funding crisis.
Administrators have been called in to the Coal Orchard venue and more than 50 staff at the theatre have been made redundant.
A candlelit vigil has been organised outside the Brewhouse at 7pm this evening (Thursday) for supporters to reflect on the closure and discuss options.
There have already been calls from many people for the centre to be reopened, either to be run by volunteers or for authorities to increase funding.
Meanwhile, anxious ticket-holders for performances which have been cancelled are waiting for news on whether they will be able to claim refunds from the venue.
Don't miss six pages of reaction and analysis in today's Somerset County Gazette.
10:59pm Wed 20 Feb 13
Just returned from an emotive final performance that brought the curtain down on a 36 year run. A great final show to go out with & a truly sad night.
With thanks to Robert & the team for the pleasure you have given me & countless others over the years & I wish you all every future success.
8:49pm Wed 20 Feb 13
This is so sad. What has happened to Taunton? There will be plenty of room on the Castle Green "redevelopment" as everyone will soon bypass Taunton on the new road to be built. No car parks, no theatre or cinema in town....no reason to visit Taunton
8:33pm Wed 20 Feb 13
How very sad. My Mum worked there as a volunteer well into her 70s and loved the place - as have we, our children and grandchildren. All sympathy for those who have lost their jobs tonight.
What we need is a source of income to support this wonderful asset to the town.. Perhaps a premium rate car park right in the centre of town - if only we could find a suitable unused space!
Oh that's right there's one going begging at Castle Green isn't there?
Wonder if there had been some consultation and perhaps even a referendum whether we would still have a theatre instead of an empty space?
the brewhouse should turn into a gig arena #petition— @EllieBoland1 20 February 2013
9:47pm Wed 20 Feb 13
Adrian Prior-Sankey says
This is a cultural disaster for Taunton and the sub region. The Theatre should never have relinquished the services of a magnificent band of volunteers like my late Mother. As a 17 year old I loved working backstage when it opened and I fought hard as chair of the Borough Council's Brewhouse Panel to gurantee public funding 10 years ago. The pricing out of most of the amateur productions was another contributory factor. Clearly councillors have known the dire situation for weeks, if not months, just the latest example of the woeful lack of civic leadership...
Just heard that the venue of my first ever show I performed in, the Brewhouse, Taunton is in administration. Sad times #SupportTheArts— @isomerfield 20 February 2013
7:42pm Wed 20 Feb 13
Have just read the news , this is an absolute travesty and a massive blow to our community. Those responsible for funding cuts should be ashamed and not just on a national level, SCC. A valued and well established cultural attraction is surely more important than excessive traffic schemes which increase traffic chaos and other half baked initiatives that seem the norm in the present day.
Please show your support for The Brewhouse by joining us for a candlelight vigil here tomorrow evening between 7-8pm to remember great times— @BrewhouseLive 20 February 2013
Brewhouse Theatre Taunton closing tonight-run out of money-great shock-will be much missed. Real loss for the town— @BarryHavenhand 20 February 2013
Just heard on the news that The Brewhouse in Taunton is to close - sad news for so many people.— @TivertonTheatre 20 February 2013
Is extremely sad that the #brewhouse is closing is a tragic day for #taunton & I am one of many doing all we can to get it open again— @cllrjaybaker 20 February 2013
@TauntonJelly Brewhouse in Taunton to close? Is there no alternative? Tragic loss for #taunton #somerset— @schnuffelf1 20 February 2013
6:23pm Wed 20 Feb 13
Bizzie Lizzie says
Feel very sorry for the staff that have lost their jobs and all those people that have paid for shows they now cannot see. Its a very sad day for Taunton.
Terrible news that Taunton's Brewhouse theatre is closing this evening due to art funding cuts. An absolute travesty. @brewhouselive— @westendproducer 20 February 2013
So sad to hear The Brewhouse Theatre is closing tonight. Taunton won't be the same :-(— @KarenYarlington 20 February 2013
Sad news that The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton is closing due to a cut in arts funding. Great little venue, holds some good memories too.— @xJakeyEvsx 20 February 2013
Without places like the Brewhouse in Taunton, my hometown grows an ever more grey, dull and lifeless place.— @oscarpower 20 February 2013
Sad news on Brewhouse Theatre. Very visible consequence of cuts by Council. Other cuts less visible but no less real to the people affected— @SomersetUNISON 20 February 2013
@GazetteAMcGill @countygazette I really do hope there is something we as a community can do to help @brewhouselive survive #rallythetroops— @gingerfig 20 February 2013
To re-emphasise following 'exclusive' ITV News report just now, the @CountyGazette is the place to go tomorrow for all Brewhouse analysis...— @GazetteAMcGill 20 February 2013
..views on closure from a dozen major players, exlusive column from Brewhouse director AND ideas for a campaign to reopen it @CountyGazette— @GazetteAMcGill 20 February 2013
5:38pm Wed 20 Feb 13
I'm really upset to see this. I have wonderful memories of going to the Brewhouse as a child, and more recently I've had the pleasure of taking my daughter there. This is a really sad day for Taunton, and I feel very sorry for the staff.
RT @westendproducer: Terrible news that Taunton's Brewhouse theatre is closing this evening due to art funding cuts. An absolute travesty. @brewhouselive— @alisonfarina 20 February 2013
6:00pm Wed 20 Feb 13
Chrissie Godfrey says
Hello everyone, this is such sad news. Like someone gradually, so gradually, drained of blood, this wonderful organisation has suffered from under-funding and funding cuts until it is no more. My heart is breaking, as this is a place I love. It is central to the beating heart of this town. I cannot imagine how things will be here without it. But it is gone, and this passing needs to be marked by people who feel the same as I do.
I will be outside The Brewhouse from 7-8pm on Thursday 21st February, with a candle, maybe some flowers, maybe a note of regret to stick to the door. A little vigil of love and care. Do please come and join me in this. And do please pass this invitation on to anyone you think might like to join me too.
The Brewhouse opened in March 1977 - here's the first group of volunteers, staff and founders pictured outside the venue shortly after it opened:
@CountyGazette Sad day for Taunton. We need a change of direction, investment & jobs or we will fall even further behind Bridgwater & Exeter— @IanMorrell 20 February 2013
5:28pm Wed 20 Feb 13
This closure is a clear example of what Taunton has become over the last ten years. It has lost its soul and status as a quality county town. It seems that our local representatives are totally out of touch with the general population and the forthcoming local elections will provide no opportunity to correct this. How very, very sad.
UPCOMING acts scheduled for the venue which have been cancelled include Mark Thomas, Marcus Brigstocke and Marty Wilde.
Taunton Brewhouse going in to administration :( bad times lovely place that.— @Erndogz 20 February 2013
@markthomasinfo Mark just heard that Brewhouse Taunton is closing tonight - Administrators called in - Was looking fwd to Friday :(— @daghornleghorn 20 February 2013
Very sad news that The Brewhouse theatre in Taunton has gone into administration - hope the staff get treated fairly.— @hi_JKH 20 February 2013
@CountyGazette That's really sad news - a huge cultural loss for Taunton— @tjpfb 20 February 2013
@CountyGazette NO...no...no...what is happening to this town— @juliemunckton 20 February 2013
@CountyGazette Here's a reaction: absolutely bloody shocking. Taunton: not so much the heart of Somerset as its cultural desert #Brewhouse— @ShuttleworthDS 20 February 2013
Can't believe the Brewhouse Theatre has gone into administration!! Shocked as it is such a shame. Really enjoyed performing there— @MrMPrentice 20 February 2013
BREAKING: Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton to close - reaction, analysis and an exclusive column from its director in @CountyGazette tomorrow— @CountyGazette 20 February 2013
THE Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton has called in the administrators and will close on Thursday, it has emerged.
Dozens of staff at the 352-seat venue have been made redundant and all scheduled performances after tonight's production of Jane Eyre have been cancelled.
The demise of the riverside theatre, which is a registered charity, has been blamed on cuts in funding.
For more on this story, including an exclusive column by Brewhouse director Robert Miles explaining the reasons for the theatre's closure, see Thursday's edition of the Somerset County Gazette.
Leave your reaction to the news uisng the comment facility below or Tweet your views to @CountyGazette