Strode Theatre manager's sadness at Brewhouse Theatre closure
The manager of Street's Strode Theatre has expressed her sympathy for everyone affected by the sudden closure of the Brewhouse theatre in Taunton.
The curtain went down for the last time at the Brewhouse on Wednesday, February 20 after a shocked audience was informed of the closure during a sell-out performance of Jane Eyre. The theatre's director Robert Miles blamed county council and Arts Council cuts on top of years of underfunding. Mr Miles said the boarded-up theatre will be "the most visible sign of the disintegration of our cultural landscape in our beautiful county".
The closure of the Brewhouse is a stark warning of the impact of funding cuts on the arts in Somerset.
Strode Theatre manager Liz Leyshon said: "Everyone at Strode Theatre extends their sympathy and understanding to the trustees, staff, companies and audiences at the Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre in Taunton.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"We know how challenging the arts situation in Somerset is these days and realise that last week's immediate closure will result in a serious loss of income for performance companies, professional and amateur, and audience members together with loss of employment for a significant number of people.
"We hope that a resolution can be found that will enable the community companies to complete their planned performances for the spring season, already well into rehearsal, and that audiences can again expect to find quality live performances in their county town.
"A county town without a theatre would be a cultural loss for Somerset and set a poor precedent for the whole country.
"We are fortunate at Strode Theatre in being part of Strode College. There are many benefits to being part of a larger organisation and just at the moment, I am glad to have good colleagues and tremendous support all around me. My thoughts are with those who no longer have a job in the arts."
Somerset County Council cut all arts funding in 2010. Councillor David Hall, county council member for economic development, infrastructure and innovation said he was sad to hear of the Brewhouse's financial problems. He said the "difficult decision to cut a grant of £27,300 to the centre" was made after government cuts to the council's budget in 2010.
This cut came on top of a cut of about £280,000 from the Arts Council.
The cuts are viewed as shortsighted by many as the creative industries are a growth sector.
Mr Hall added: "We recognise the very real contribution the arts make to the quality of life and economic development in Somerset."
The council has awarded grants of £75,000 to creative projects in Somerset.
The funding cuts spelled the end for the Brewhouse which had battled for financial survival since it first opened in March 1997.
A spokesman for Arts Council England said it was a great shame the Brewhouse had to go into administration but that reduced funding from the government has meant they have had to make difficult choices.
Editor's comment: page 28