Brewhouse closure has left £500,000 owed to creditors, says administrator
The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton has left its creditors, including theatre companies and ticket holders, an estimated £500,000 out of pocket, according to the venue’s administrator.
BDO, which was appointed in February, said the Somerset venue does not have sufficient assets to repay these creditors.
Pilot Theatre Company claims it is owed more than £10,000, while Shakespeare’s Globe says more than £8,000 remains unpaid.
Meanwhile, the Society of London Theatre is claiming almost £6,000, and Candoco Dance Company is due £3,000. Advanced ticket holders are owed an estimate in excess of £80,000.
Pilot Theatre took its production of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner to the venue in November.
Artistic director Marcus Romer said the normal fee for this show would have been around £16,000, but Pilot Theatre agreed on a reduced fee of around £10,000 to “stand shoulder to shoulder” to support Taunton because he did not want the Brewhouse audiences to miss out on the company’s work.
He said: “We are a publicly funded organisation, which has to create great work for everyone, and we have received nothing in payment. What it’s meant is that we now need to look at our research and development budget for future projects. We need to re-jig our budget because we are not going to get any money at all [back from the Brewhouse].”
Romer suggested that in future venues and theatre companies should hold discussions about ‘escrow’ payments, in which a third party holds the money until the show has been completed and the contract fulfilled, so it is protected.
Shakespeare’s Globe is owed money for its touring production of As You Like It, which visited the Brewhouse last summer to play at Vivary Park in Taunton.
Tom Bird, executive producer at Shakespeare’s Globe, said: “We’ve had a great time touring there in the past few years, and are very sad their problems mean we won’t be able to return this summer.”
BDO business restructuring partner Simon Girling confirmed that over the past four years until March 31, 2012, the venue’s annual expenditure was around £1.2 million, while its operating revenues were in the region of £700,000. He added that total grants and donations to the venue fell from a peak of £553,000 in 2010 to £250,000 in the year ending March 31, 2013.
“After conducting a thorough review of the business and evaluating all options available, we can confirm that, regrettably, there will be insufficient assets to make a distribution to unsecured creditors,” said Girling.
He added that BDO is currently reviewing all bids it has received from organisations wanting to take over the Brewhouse’s remaining lease: “Due to the commercial sensitivities of ongoing negotiations, we are unable to elaborate on the identity of any potential purchasers or realisable values. We will advise creditors of the overall outcome of the process, subject to confidentiality of terms, as soon as this is determined, on the Brewhouse website and in our six-month report to creditors.