THE curtains came down on Taunton’s Brewhouse theatre and arts centre in February 2013 before it went into administration.

(Fortunately a group of volunteers led to those curtains going back up again after a hiatus and is going strong today).

Staff at the 352-seat venue were made redundant and scheduled performances cancelled 11 years ago.

The demise of the riverside theatre, a registered charity, was blamed on cuts in funding it received from Somerset County and Taunton Deane Councils and the Arts Council.

Paul Birch, chairman of the board of governors, said: “In the current harsh economic climate and against a background of long-term underfunding, the position has become untenable.

“Even with regular high attendances, the economy of scale no longer works in our favour.

“In short, taking ticket sales and other revenue streams together, the Brewhouse raises about 60% of what it needs to keep going and with inadequate public investment, it is impossible to achieve this.”

Artistic director and chief executive Robert Miles said efforts had been made to bring in extra income, with fundraising activities, ‘bucket rattling’, restaurant and front-of-house concessions.

“But ultimately, 352 seats do not give the margins which we need to survive.

“I apologise to all the suppliers, ticketholders and visiting artists this will affect – the trustees were left with no other option.”

He added: “Everyone here has been incredibly committed to bringing the arts in all forms to the communities we serve and we are deeply sorry for the position we find ourselves in.

“I would like to thank the wonderful team of staff and volunteers, including the trustees, who have done amazing work for such little reward, the fantastic acts that have performed here and our loyal community, who have been so supportive.”

A spokesman for Taunton Deane Council, which had made an annual grant of £152,000 to the Brewhouse since 2006, said it did not have the funds to bail out the facility.

As well as putting up an extra £18,000 in 2005-06, the council also pumped in a one-off £50,000 in 2009 to help the Brewhouse develop

a “sustainable business plan”.