Taunton's Brewhouse Theatre to close: full details

Building exterior
The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton Photo: ITV News

Administrators have been called in to handle to closure of Taunton's Brewhouse Theatre; all 20 full-time staff and 35 part-time staff will be made redundant at midnight tonight (Wednesday 20 February), although the performance this evening - Jane Eyre - will go ahead as planned.

The closure will be a shock for Somerset's theatre-goers. After 35 years as an entertainment venue, the Brewhouse had become a firm fixture on the county's arts scene. It was a purpose-built venue, complete with main theatre, studio, gallery, meeting rooms and cafe.

Its stated mission was to be a 'creative hub for the region, continually offering high quality experiences which entertain, stimulate, involve and inspire the many diverse communities we serve.'

To that end, it has staged thousands of theatre productions, concerts and art performances since its founding in 1977 - David Jason starred in its first-ever production. Our Somerset Correspondent David Woodland has spent the day in Taunton. Local people he spoke to have expressed surprise and disappointment at the news, particularly as the theatre was a popular venue.

Like so many venue closures, it all comes down to finances. The Brewhouse - a registered charity - has been sustained by an annual grant of £152,000 from Taunton Deane Borough Council, but on its own this was not enough. The theatre lost its Arts Council funding last year, and the County Council has cut its arts funding as well. This left the Brewhouse having to rely more and more on its own funding. In the end, it was unable to cope.

You can watch David Woodland's full report tonight on ITV News West Country at 6pm.