Bridgwater Arts Centre was facing a bleak midwinter with a leaking roof, a theatre closed to the public and the prospect of a long period of closure.
Newspaper headlines didn’t help and cancellations led to dwindling income, loss of members and eventually loss of the last paid staff. Was Bridgwater about to lose the first arts centre in the country? No, of course not! Bridgwater people don’t think like that. As 2019 arrived members, volunteers and users old and new rallied round and with the help of Bridgwater Town Council pulled the arts centre back from the brink at the last moment.
As Spring arrives in Bridgwater the Art Centre is once again open to the public with an exhibition in the gallery and a full programme of bar and gallery events. A ‘conditions survey’ has just reported with costs for repairs and Bridgwater Town Council will be considering how it can help with one of the towns most historic of assets. The Arts Centre board has been augmented by new blood and everyone is rallying round to kick life back into the place.
Town Council Support
Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Westover) said,
“Now the Art Centre needs the people of the town to get back in there and use the centre for what it was originally intended. A hub for the creative community of the town – and that’s potentially a lot of people. They need volunteers, they need bar staff, they need front of house, artists, musicians, singers, writers, anyone who values creativity and recognises the importance of art and culture in the life of a community. This place was the first of it’s kind in the whole country remember and we have to be proud of that here. Yet another first for Bridgwater.“
The Arts Centre is a volunteer run independent organisation with a managing board of directors and trustees, supported by a network of volunteers all of whom have a part to play in making things happen. Their facilities are available to hire, for professional and community groups.
The Art Centres newly appointed publicity co-ordinator, local DJ and radio presenter Steve Coram, has just announced the programme for March.
Saturday 9th March 2019 – 8pm
Groovy Baby-Yeah! is a celebration of the music from the 1960’s! The Bridgwater Arts Centre Bar will be set ablaze with the sounds of the 1960’s, Pop, Motown and Psychedelia! In other words, a DJ set playing some of the greatest music in pops history! So, do come along and the support the Bridgwater Arts Centre Bar!
AGE: 18+ FREE*FREE*FREE*FREE*FREE*
Saturday 16th March 2019 – 8pm
Take your seats, class, because it’s time for another Rock & Pop Quiz in the Bridgwater Arts Centre Bar! So, do you know your Frank Sinatra from the Beatles or Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, good grief! MAXIMUM 4 per team, £2 per person, cash prizes, just turn up on the night to enter! Age 18+ ONLY
Thursday 21st March 2019 – 8pm
Acoustic Night! No formality, no lead, just a friendly jam session in the Bridgwater Arts Centre Bar! Bring an instrument to join in with other local performers! Or, why not just pop into the bar, have a drink, and enjoy the music on offer! FREE-FREE-FREE-FREE-FREE-FREE!
Friday 22nd March 2019 at 8pm.
The ‘Jazzical Swing Band’ make a welcome return to the Bridgwater Arts Centre Bar. They play music from the ‘Swing Era’ of the 20s and 30s made famous by the likes of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw! So, come along to the Bridgwater Arts Centre Bar and be prepared have your feet tapping from the off! FREE*FREE*FREE*FREE*FREE*
To keep up with the Art Centre programme as it happens check out their website here.
A Creative Space for the People of Bridgwater
Acting Chair of the Arts Centre is Eastover ward town councillor Tony Heywood who also fronts the Bridgwater Cultural Partnership. Tony’s background is in music and theatre promotion. He is passionate about the arts and has been a strong advocate for Town Council intervention. Tony, who has been working tirelessly to save the Art Centre, said
“The theatre roof at Bridgwater Arts Centre is in serious need of restoration, and so the theatre will remain closed to carry out urgent repairs. While work is being carried out, the centre will be open as usual to regular users, tenants, and hirers, where possible. We are currently in the process of organising events in the bar and the Gallery is also available to the general public. As a Grade 1 listed building, and the oldest arts centre in the UK to have opened with Arts Council funding, it is vital that we safeguard the heritage of our building, and work towards further establishing the centre as a creative space that can best serve the people of Bridgwater.”