The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre in Taunton has gone into administration citing cuts to its public funding in recent years for its decision.
In a statement released by the venue today, the centre confirmed it had closed from today (February 21) while “all options are considered” and said that there would be redundancies made to all of its staff.
The venue currently employs 55 people – 20 full time, 35 part time – and 21 volunteers.
The centre said that following years of cuts to its public funding, the 352-seat theatre venue and gallery “desperately” needed more investment from its stakeholders but was “unable to secure an agreement in time” to stay open.
Arts Council England withdrew its regular funding to the Brewhouse in 2005, which preceded an annual funding cut of 25% from Taunton Deane Borough Council.
Somerset County Council then removed its funding to all cultural organisations, including the Brewhouse, in 2010.
Paul Birch, chairman of the board of governors of the Brewhouse, said: “In the current harsh economic climate and against a background of long-term underfunding for the Brewhouse, the position has become untenable.
“Even with regular high attendances, such as our final performance of Hull Truck Theatre’s Jane Eyre last night, which sold out weeks ago, the economy of scale no longer works in our favour.”
He added: “In short, taking tickets 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.”
Birch said he hoped that other local authorities considering cutting all support for cultural infrastructure would “learn the lesson” from Somerset, because Taunton would be “a poorer place, culturally and economically, without the Brewhouse”.
Robert Miles, artistic director and chief executive of the Brewhouse, said the venue has worked “as efficiently” as it can but that ticket sales have not provided the margins needed for the venue to survive.
He said: “I apologise to all the suppliers, ticketholders and visiting artists that this will affect, the trustees were left with no other option.”
“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.”