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Brewhouse Theatre Closure: Council chief criticises staffing levels
This live event has finished
- Cash-strapped Taunton theatre closed last week
- Administrators appeal for viable options to reopen centre
- County Gazette launches 'Save Our Brewhouse' campaign
- Somerset County Council chief blasts theatre staffing levels
@j24somerset Thanks for helping us out with 13th March show after Brewhouse closure. Audience - please come!!— @kathryntickell 28 February 2013
THE Somerset County Gazette is launching a campaign with a simple message and a simple aim: SAVE OUR BREWHOUSE.
Since last week’s shock closure of Taunton’s much-loved town centre theatre, the outpouring of anger from the people of the town has been vast and sustained.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil to remember the 36-year history of the Brewhouse and already action groups have formed to get the centre re-opened.
More than 100 people have already offered to work for free as volunteers to reclaim the venue from the hands of the administrators.
County Gazette editor Alex Cameron said: “The closure of the Brewhouse has prompted one of the biggest reader responses we have ever had.
“Our postbag has been bulging and our phones have been ringing off the hook. People are in shock and they want to know how they can help.”
To support the campaign, you can sign the petition here.
You can also lend your support to the working groups which have formed to help reopen the centre.
To volunteer your services, email Councillor John Meikle on firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, age and whether you can help as a general supporter, a volunteer on the box office, in the general office, in the bar, front of house, selling programmes or anything else. Include your contact details.
For the latest on the closure, including extensive reaction from across Taunton, don't miss Thursday's County Gazette.
SENIOR officials at Somerset County Council have issued a robust defence of their role in the funding of the Brewhouse.
Deputy leader David Hall has issused a statement in which he insists the authority is a big supporter of the arts - and suggests the venue may have employed too many staff.
The statement reads: "All of us at the County Council sympathise with staff, suppliers, and the arts loving public affected by The Brewhouse Theatre’s announcement of its closure last week.
"Following statements from the theatre’s management and the town’s MP Jeremy Browne that appear to suggest that Somerset County Council is somehow responsible for this closure, I wish to set the record straight, and correct certain inaccuracies in some of the comments that have been made.
"It has been suggested that this Council does not support the arts and creative industries, and repeated claims have been made that this Council made a 100 per cent cut in its arts funding in 2012.
"This is absolutely not true. In the last 12 months, Somerset County Council has awarded grants totalling £75,000 to arts and creative industries groups as diverse as the Shepton Mallet Digital Arts and the Taunton Literary Festival.
"A further £90,000 was awarded the previous year, and no further savings have been put forward in this year’s budget.
"This is a clear demonstration that Somerset County Council values the arts, and will continue to support deserving projects to the best of its ability, within the financial constraints placed upon it by the Coalition Government’s funding cuts.
"One of the more surprising revelations to come to light following the theatre going into administration is that 55 full and part time posts were employed by The Brewhouse.
"No doubt the administrators will be looking closely at all aspects of how The Brewhouse was managed and run.
"By way of contrast, the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil runs without any subsidy from Somerset County Council, bids for and wins grants from the Arts Council, and appears financially sound.
"It employs just 12 full and part time staff with a small army of volunteers, helpers and casual staff. Perhaps there are lessons to be learnt.
"In 2010, in order to make essential savings, we were obliged to cease direct funding support for some theatres, including The Brewhouse.
"A relatively small grant of £27,000 was therefore withdrawn. To put this in context, Taunton Deane Borough Council currently continues to provide a subsidy of some £152,000.
"In no way, therefore, can it be reasonably claimed that the removal of the small SCC grant caused The Brewhouse to close.
"I repeat, we sympathise with the staff, suppliers and the arts loving public at this difficult time but all organisations, not least the County Council, must live within their means.
"The savings which the County Council has made have enabled us to keep essential frontline services running, helping thousands of residents benefit from our services across Somerset.
"It is disappointing that some may see the current difficult situation as an opportunity to score political points in the press or social media.
"Inaccurate and misleading comments to the press are unhelpful.
"Everyone should now, I suggest, allow the administrators the space to do their job, and focus instead on finding a sustainable future for The Brewhouse Theatre."
TICKET holders and amateur dramatic groups are up to £12,000 out of pocket following the sudden closure of the Brewhouse.
The Wayfarers, Taunton Amateur Operatic Society and the Taunton Scout and Guide Gang have been hit by the sudden closure.
Plenty of you have also let us know about how the closure affected you.
Jo Christoforides bought four tickets for Kathryn Ticknell and said: “Will have to think of an alternative, at no doubt more cost.”
Emma Whitfield, who bought tickets to see Julian Clarey, said: “We were so looking forward to it - just so shocked at the suddenness of it all.”
Laura Cridge had planned to take her daughter to see goldilocks in June. She said: “I'm annoyed about losing my money but really sad that something that was so important in Taunton closed without warning.”
Extended question time last night at #fullCouncil. #TDBC listened to ideas & concerns from supporters determined to #SaveTheBrewhouse.— @JaneWarmington 27 February 2013
THE Arts Council has released figures to the County Gazette showing the amount of funding they gave the Brewhouse since November 2007.
A spokesman from the Arts Council said they were told in 2010 they had to cut their grant-in-aid budget from £449 million to £349m by 2015 - a 29.6% drop as part of the Government's Spending Review.
Following the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in December 2012, the Arts Council was told the reduction to budgets would result in a cut to grant-in-aid funding of £3.9million (one per cent) in 2013/14 and £7.7 million (two per cent) in 2014/15, which is the same amount they have had to cut.
Here is a list of the Arts Council's funding to The Brewhouse since 2007/2008:
November 5, 2007 - £4,000 (GIA) - Young person's theatre project
August 16, 2008 - £85,000 (Gfa) - Fuelling the flames - Nurturing local artists
May 12, 2009 - £84,000 (Gfa) - Open House - building the cultural offer
September 14, 2009 - £387,000 lottery - Sustain fund
March 5, 2010 - £20,000 (GIA) project funding - Turning Point delivery
March 18, 2010 - £96,500 (GIA) project funding - Turning Point
June 13, 2010 - £96,500 (Gfa) - 'Making work' work - developing programme
September 22, 2010 - £100,000 GIA project funding - Turning Point
March 25, 2011 - £100,000 lottery Sustain Fund
July 5, 2011 - £99,525 (Gfa) Into the Fire - developing risky work
February 20, 2012 - £149,870 (Gfa) Visual Arts SW - developing VA networks - restricted funds
June 20, 2012 - £211,653 (Gfa) - Creative Somerset - restricted funds
Gfa - Grants for the arts, which is Lottery funded
GIA - Grant in aid which is treasury funding.
Restricted funding - Brewhouse acting as a 'banker' for a number of other involved organisations
CONSERVATIVE councillor Ian Morrell had hoped to ask fellow Taunton Deane councillors to consider halving their allowance to raise extra money for the Brewhouse at last night's meeting - but a vote was delayed until next week. He Tweeted afterwards:
@CountyGazette Vote delayed until Monday due to bureaucracy -demonstrating attitude of council failing to grip the leadership challenge— @IanMorrell 26 February 2013
UP TO 100 people upset at the closure of The Brewhouse Theatre attended a budget meeting at Taunton Deane Council House last night.
The centre's former artistic director Robert Miles addressed councillors at the meeting, where the authority ratified its decision to make a £35,000 fund available to help reopen the venue should a suitable group come forward.
THE ‘Snout and About’ tour of the Orchard Shopping Centre pigs has been cancelled due to the sudden closure of the Brewhouse.
The aim was to auction the pigs off after the nine-week tour to raise money for the theatre.
But a spokesman from the Orchard Shopping Centre said it was not economically viable to keep the tour going and the pigs have been put in storage.
A YOUNG actor who appeared in the Christmas production of Wind in the Willows at The Brewhouse has spoken of her sadness at its closure.
Freya Pendry, 11, from North Newton, wrote the Gazette to express her shock at the news.
She said: “I loved every second of performing, all the cast and staff were so kind and supportive.
“My dream has been to become an actor when I'm older and the experience at the Brewhouse has strengthened that dream.
“There were nine of us in our chorus and some like me have our hearts set on performing. We are all still friends.
“Many young people came to watch us and I felt proud to be able to inspire others to perform, just like I was inspired by the professionals we worked with.
“People forget that young people are the future in the performing arts. The Brewhouse gave us opportunities that we would not get otherwise.
“I am so sad that this opportunity has now gone. I won't give up on my dream but a little piece of that has been shattered.”
Please sign this petition to #Somerset County Council #Brewhouse #Taunton #saveourbrewhouse https://t.co/FfTu5o2Z1k— @Darrellebower 26 February 2013
RT @PoplarPersona: TDBC meeting 26th February 6.30pm. Belvedere Road. Please attend. Protest closing of #Brewhouse. Art is not a luxury. Show them you care.— @Lampmagazine 25 February 2013
The Brewhouse is important to our pupils. They have seen plays, toured, had lectures and theatre staff come here often. #saveOURbrewhouse— @WellingtonHead 26 February 2013
TAUNTON Deane Council says that due to space constraints, only 25 members of the public will be allowed into its Full Council budget meeting tomorrow evening (Tuesday 26).
It is expected demonstrators upset about the closure of the Brewhouse will attend the meeting to make their feelings known during a Public Question Time period before the meeting begins.
Very sad to hear about the closure of #Brewhouse in Taunton. A shame for the local area and a loss to the community both near and far.— @Added_insight 25 February 2013
ADMINISTRATORS BDO have said it could be 'weeks or months' before the scale of the debts owed by The Brewhouse become clear.
A spokesman told the County Gazette on Monday afternoon that administrators are examining the books at the arts venue but the process of identifying creditors will take 'some time'.
TAUNTON Deane Council has set aside £35,000 to help reopen the Brewhouse Theatre should a group come together with a viable rescue package for the closed facility.
The cash has been pledged by the authority's Scrutiny Committee to allow the council to "react quickly" if necessary - although exactly what it might be spent on is unclear.
The Council has awarded the theatre £152,000 a year for the last seven years and the grant remains in the coming year’s budget despite the closure of The Brewhouse on February 21.
Council leader Cllr John Williams said: “It’s right to set aside money to help any future project to bring The Brewhouse back into use as soon as possible.
“This sum of £35,000 would help to facilitate a sustainable future for the theatre as an important cultural venue.”
Cllr Norman Cavill, whose economic development portfolio includes the arts, said: “A huge amount of support and ideas are now coming forward and these need to be assessed properly.”
The decision to set aside the money won cross party support. Cllr Jefferson Horsley, who chairs the Corporate Scrutiny Committee, said it had been tragic to witness the theatre’s closure, adding: “The future of The Brewhouse and the arts is vital to us all.”
Council chiefs say it plans to work with local groups and Arts Council England to try to find ways forward for the venue as a financially viable hub for arts and culture locally.
Mr Williams added: “In recent days people have shown they really do care about The Brewhouse.
"We want to harness that support as we are committed to high quality arts provision in Taunton and will play an active role in any discussions on finding a way forward for The Brewhouse as quickly as possible.”
11:13am Mon 25 Feb 13
I've never been a real fan of 'local' productions but nevertheless, I'm sad to see the demise of The Brewhouse.
Therefore, as a comparative 'outsider', I can add my thoughts without undue bias.
A theatre such as The Brewhouse is seen (in my eyes) to be for locals with occasional 'star' guest appearances......but even so, by non-A rated stars. Most of those 'stars' will be ex-big stars in their declining years or up-and-coming hopefuls.
Therefore their performances are likely not to be their very best - perhaps just reminders of what they were like in their heyday or won't be the polished performance that they'll one day be.
A 'local' theatre will, in addition, not have the clout or financial backing to support lavish and wonderful scenic effects - which are as important as the star.
And so, with all due respect to The Brewhouse, on the few occasions I've been to the theatre, I've preferred to travel to Plymouth or Bristol - to see 'real' stars with truly amazing backdrops and effects.
Back in Taunton, the town is slowly but surely losing it's heart. At the rate the internet has taken over and with the rates the local authorities charge, the centre of town is becoming a non-shopping centre - a service centre full of service industry outlets.
So we're driven out to the suburbs (where all the big shops now are) and our highest consideration, when venturing into town to shop or to see the theatre, is whether or not we can afford the parking. And the risk of getting a ticket or being met by alcoholic-belligeren
t yobs is too high.
TV (and our enormous home TV sets) now bring us the best entertainment - in 3D if we want it - and at home the parking is free; we can eat without being ripped off and we can drink without being breathalyzed. So why go out?
Production costs of theatrical performances have always been high, unless everyone does their bit for free......but you can't expect to attract the biggest acts with peanuts. And a top star won't want to perform to less than a crowd of thousands either.
So, one way or another, The Brewhouse was an anachronism - let down by the modern world.
I know that there was talk, some years ago, of building a larger theatre - but I'm sorry to say, that unless one is built that can be used for multiple purposes - trade shows; pop events; indoor sport shows, etc - (and who wants one of those on their doorstep), it'll become yet another white elephant.
Thanks anyway, to The Brewhouse, for having been there......
SOMERSET County Council deputy leader Cllr David Hall has defended himself against an allegation he did not attend a meeting about the future of the Brewhouse.
Writing in last week's County Gazette, Brewhouse artistic director Robert Miles said Mr Hall 'didn't turn up' to an important meeting.
In response, Mr Hall, the member for economic development, said: “I had anticipated attending but was caught up on the day with another meeting which overran.
“That meeting was to confirm the signing of the £90m connecting Somerset and Devon broadband deal.
“In order to conclude the deal there were some issues that had to be resolved and the County Council rang the Brewhouse to offer my apologies.
“In a previous meeting with the Brewhouse, I had signalled my willingness to support the theatre with its programme of investment plans, including a £4.5m capital bid to the Arts Council England.
"I was very supportive of the bid and of the cultural and economic benefits that capital investment by Arts Council could generate.”
RT @JuliaBlatchford: @pedanticdave @SaveBrewhouse But without volunteers it won't be running at all. I've volunteered to help & would be happy to manage students— @SaveBrewhouse 24 February 2013
@JuliaBlatchford @SaveBrewhouse A professional venue needs to be run professionally. Also- managing work placement students takes staff.— @pedanticdave 24 February 2013
@SaveBrewhouse What about offering students Work Experience placements? Sure they'd welcome the opportunity #volunteer #SaveOurBrewhouse— @JuliaBlatchford 24 February 2013
Love the passion behind the various 'Save The Brewhouse' campaigns but have no idea who's behind them & see no kind of master plan at work.— @kelly_lou_smith 24 February 2013
RT @MarcusRomer: My new blogpost about #artsfunding and the #brewhouse for Sunday afternoon readers... http://t.co/XN87JUInHy— @stripysocksrock 24 February 2013
THE new chair of the Arts Council Sir Peter Bazalgette has revealed that arts and culture receives one per cent of regular giving to charity.
In his first interviews with the national press this weekend, the former TV producer, who was knighted for his services to broadcasting last year, has promised to “bang the drum for art and culture.”
He has said that he wants to change both the attitude of the public and local authorities to private arts donation and funding, partly by encouraging the use of digital technology.
In an interview with the Daily Mail yesterday he said that if local authorities cut funding dramatically they will create a "whole new crisis of the arts" putting regional theatres, museums and galleries at grave risk of closure because they don’t have the money to stand alone.
“I know cuts have to be made, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water,” he said.
Bazalgette, who is best known for bringing Big Brother to our screens, also told the Observer today that arts funding should be seen as an investment and not a subsidy – a word which he says he has trained himself out of using.
He labelled some local authorities plans to make 100 per cent cuts to their arts budgets as “a very big worry” because the arts council “can’t replace it.”
Bazalgette, who has never aligned himself with any one political party, was on the board of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, before taking up his current role on the Arts Council.
In his interview with the Observer he defended politicians’ position on both sides saying that most he has dealt with are "arts lovers."
“But it is a difficult time and whoever was in charge would be making big cuts,” he said.
“There's a double whammy at the moment because there's the reduction in government expenditure of 29.6 per cent and at the same time many local authorities are cutting back on their support of the arts."
Mult-millionair Bazalgette, who was acting chairman of the English National Opera, and president of the Royal Television Society, is taking £30,000 of the £40,000 salary offered to the Chair of the Council for working two days a week.
He took up the post on February 1 and his term will last four years.
The Council is patron to 690 arts bodies across England and hands out £1.4 billion of public money.
An emotional bye bye for the Brewhouse Theatre. Is this the start of Taunton disintegrating? http://t.co/ulPjlC4ucQ— @barnabychambers 23 February 2013
RT @ShuttleworthDS: @CountyGazette Castle Green being put to good use again. £3 million would've gone a long way towards a new theatre... http://t.co/5fz0NQjCBS— @janekjsym 23 February 2013
@CountyGazette Interesting tweets of mine to use. NOTE: @BrewhouseLive wrong to be exclusively amateurs but they should be at the heart!— @JamesEFoster 23 February 2013
RT @RobertJMiles: Here is the new link to my final blog that was removed from The Brewhouse web site please RT if you think it may help http://t.co/zoIEHyzhoF— @30sLady 23 February 2013
ARTS groups in Taunton are frantically searching for new venues, while another act already admits being left out of pocket.
Dave Mullen, director of the Taunton Scout and Guide Gang Show, which has been held at the theatre for 23 years, said the speed at which the Brewhouse closed means other venues have already got commitments.
Taunton Amateur Operatic Society is continuing with rehearsals for their production of The Sound of Music even though they are still without a stage.
Chair of the society Jill Venn said their main aim was to ensure their production of The Sound of Music goes ahead.
Comedian Mark Thomas, who was also due to appear at the Brewhouse, said he expected to be left out of pocket after agreeing to honour tickets at a replacement venue last night.
Ahead of his performance at Junction 24, near Bridgwater, he said: “I am losing money on this gig because my tech manager and tour manager don't work for free and neither should they.”
He also criticised Somerset County Council, labelling their decision to withdraw funding as ‘wrong’ on his blog.
Arts Council England withdrew regular funding to the Brewhouse in 2005 and Somerset County Council cut all its arts funding in 2010.
The theatre had been receiving an annual grant of £152,000 from Taunton Deane Borough Council.
RT @JamesEFoster: Amateurs saying: "give it back to us, we can run it better" are unrealistic & not beneficial to wider community who demand & deserve more!— @Robashelford 23 February 2013
RT @JamesEFoster: Unless @BrewhouseLive, Taunton is run as a professional enterprise it offers nothing to wider community & is doomed to failure as a theatre.— @Robashelford 23 February 2013
@CavalieroFinn If you feel the Brewhouse was well-managed, read Marcus Romer on how his team were treated financially http://t.co/m8yZIPIGDr— @AroundWelly 23 February 2013
Sad truth about #Brewhouse closure is that Taunton was never interested in theatre or culture. Those who cut the grants saw that and ...— @AroundWelly 20 February 2013
@janekjsym Agreed - we should all work 2gether but need to learn from the past in order to mitigate future difficulties.— @IanMorrell 23 February 2013
RT @IanMorrell: @CountyGazette Disingenuous of Jeremy Brown 2 blame closure just on Tories- he's a Lib Dem minister presiding coalition cuts on local govt.— @JuliaBlatchford 23 February 2013
@TMAC_Taunton Please spread word about Brewhouse protest on 26th, at Deane House council meeting: https://t.co/XteQHu1blK— @PoplarPersona 22 February 2013
MP Jeremy Browne has released this statement following the closure of the Brewhouse:
“I was saddened to hear about the closure of the Brewhouse Theatre after entertaining audiences across Taunton Deane and beyond for over 35 years. To have this key venue closed in the centre of the Cultural Hub of Taunton is hugely disappointing and does not look good for the centre of Taunton.
“With the revamp of the Museum of Somerset and the Somerset County Cricket Club going from strength to strength, it is particularly sad to see that the Brewhouse has closed.
“The Conservatives at County Hall cut the arts budget by 100% 3 years ago. This left a huge financial void for the Brewhouse to fill. This short-sighted cut also had wider implications for the venue as it meant they lost the chance for an Arts Council grant. It also sent a message from Somerset County Council that they didn’t value the contribution the theatre made to the local economy. When people came to visit the Brewhouse it brought people to Taunton and added to its night time economy with people often going to local restaurants and bars while in the town.
“I am very concerned about the impact this closure will mean for the town and in particular my thoughts are with the staff that now find themselves unemployed. For the county town of Somerset to not have a premier arts venue or theatre is extremely disappointing and is not good enough.
“Everyone will need to work together to try and get the Brewhouse re-opened. It will need proper strategic support from councillors with a real vision for Taunton. It will also need a programme which is strong both artistically and commercially combined with the enthusiastic support of the Somerset public.”
In a speech addressing the crowd at last night’s candlelit vigil, artistic director and chief executive Robert Miles said: “Seven years ago in 2005 when our funding was cut it was my job to try to find an answer to the problem posed by the Brewhouse, which is, it has 352 seats and that means we struggle to find the acts and the other thing is the deals that are done in my industry – with 352 seats we can’t make the money to make it viable. The running costs of an old building and the staffing costs just make it very difficult.
“Seven years we have struggled with that problem and what people need to realise is that that is seven years that we wouldn’t have been open if we hadn’t been good at struggling with that problem and it is not fair on my staff. You would be shocked at the level of their pay. We have a real reputation for having great staff here who are passionate.
“Trustees had to find a way to walk away and that is why the building is now closed.
“It is really easy to say we didn’t get the right acts if you don’t know the way the industry works. It is very easy to sit back and say that ‘we could do it better’ but trust me, seven years of working hard trying to make this work and it is really hard to hear any criticism.”
He added: “We have a question here in Taunton and in Somerset, as we serve a much wider area than this town, people travel very wide to come here. We have a problem. We have a theatre that is not big enough to attract the acts.
“We had a plan to extend the theatre. It was a £10million project and that seems a lot but when you look at the museum’s £5million project, the Brewhouse was right in the centre of the town, it was clearly next on the list.
“There are various plans I have been hearing about reopening the building and I would back any of them. How it will happen I don’t know, perhaps a volunteer led model is needed again.
“Without a doubt though the end game for us and locals is to get a bigger theatre that is not only big enough to bring the best culture that you crave but that is also big enough to make it sustainable.
“All we have ever asked for is the same amount of subsidy they get at the Octagon in Yeovil. What hurts is that last night we closed with a full house that gave my staff a standing ovation and a full restaurant and it breaks my heart. The fact that you are all here tonight just shows you.
“I really want to pay tribute to 55 people who all lost their jobs today having worked as hard and as passionately as I have and we have tried so hard to make this place work. We haven’t mismanaged it, we have delivered.
“The real model that will make this work is if the local authorities think about - do they want culture here and if they do, support it, invest in it and it will grow.”
Stewart Lee on the value of the arts. http://t.co/4bDYmdGMBl @SaveBrewhouse #arts #saveourbrewhouse— @m_savory 22 February 2013
Save The Brewhouse, Somerset county council do not care about the arts!! #Brewhouse— @kimvanstein 22 February 2013
Travesty. #SaveourBrewhouse— @LucindaKirby 22 February 2013
Our Youth Theatre will carry on thanks to the generosity of local school & the loyal tenacity of the tutors working for free! #amazingstaff— @RobertJMiles 21 February 2013
A COUNCILLOR on Taunton Deane Council has suggested that he and his colleagues could halve their allowances to raise more than £120,000 to help reopen the Brewhouse.
In an email to each one of the 56 councillors, Ian Morrell (C, Bishops Hull), writes: "Closure of the Brewhouse is a loss to our community and an embarrassment for the Council and the county town.
"The funding gap of some £100,000 is something we, as elected representatives for our community, can help with and so save this important amenity as well as 55 jobs which will be lost.
"As councillors we all receive an allowance of £4,301 per annum, with special additional sums for certain members.
"I will be seeking support at the next permissible full council meeting that we as councillors collectively reduce our annual allowance for the 2013/14 financial year by 50% and allocate this sum of at least £120,428 to the Brewhouse in order to keep the doors open.
"This motion will have the caveat that the Brewhouse's long-term financial and cultural viability must be independently challenged with relevant business and management changes made in order to secure the organisation's medium and long-term viability.
"I strongly believe we collectively need to support our community during these challenging times. I hope you will be willing to support this motion."
11:44am Fri 22 Feb 13
Sir Benjamin Slade says
Theatres are a draw for tourism, same as in London. People from the UK and abroad go and stay in hotels and eat in restaurants, spend money in shops and go to the theatre as a treat.
Our culture and heritage is important and Taunton needs more theatres to make it a hub for tourism and business.
Woodlands Castle would be keen to start a "Friends of the Brewhouse theatre" event to raise money and support to keep The Brewhouse open.
the demise of Taunton's Brewhouse is worrying portent. make the most of your art centres while you can. make them vital.— @robinince 21 February 2013
PEOPLE at the candlelit vigil.
CROWDS outside the Brewhouse at Thursday's vigil.
Amazing support for Brewhouse Youth Theatre. We will finish our term, thanks to Mrs Hornsby @tauntonschool #faithandhope— @Maddsophy 22 February 2013
sad to hear Taunton's Brewhouse closing, lovely staff there. Support @markthomasinfo in this fine gesture tomorrow http://t.co/I0iSZVqZOX— @robinince 21 February 2013
Thanks everyone who's RT'd the photos from the #Brewhouse vigil last night. #SaveOurBrewhouse : http://t.co/mEib21CMHE— @FocusedonHobbs 22 February 2013
CLLR John Meikle, who appealed in the County Gazette for volunteers to come forward to help save the venue, says his phone and laptop have been 'red hot' with offers of support.
Mr Meikle, who was one of those behind the foundation of the centre in 1977, said he wants to gather an 'army' of volunteers similar the the 400 or so who helped get the venture off the ground.
To read Mr Meikle's plea - and for details on how you can offer your support - click here .
FOR previous updates, comments and Tweets on the Brewhouse Theatre closure, see our original story here .
BREWHOUSE artistic director Robert Miles addressed a crowd of hundreds of people outside the theatre at a candlelit vigil last night (see video below).
Mr Miles told the assembled crowd, which had gathered to remember the 36-year history of the arts venue, he is 'angry' at suggestions the centre could have been better-managed.
He said: "It is really easy to say we don't got the right acts if you don't know the way the industry works.
"It is very easy to sit back and say that we could do better but, trust me, seven years of working hard trying to make this work and it is really hard to hear any criticism."
Mr Miles also distanced himself from the posters bemoaning cuts to funding which have been put up outside the Brewhouse, saying he did not know where they had come from.