For several months the Bridgwater Arts Centre had been facing a perilous future as repair works to the Georgian roof of this the countries first arts centre and a long time home to innovative community arts projects alongside exciting national and international acts were threatening to see the venue closed down. Bridgwater Town Council had been in negotiations with the Board of Directors and with owners Sedgemoor District Council throughout this period and at last night’s Town Council meeting voted through a package of measures to rescue the place.
It was all showtime and stagecalls, pomp and papparazzi and triumph and tears at Bridgwater’s mid 19th century town hall this week as the town’s young Mayor Diogo Rodrigues once more put his finger firmly on the pulse of what Bridgwater does best and launched his new ‘Youth Awards’. This year Diogo has done things differently. He’s looked at what we’ve done traditionally and tried something new. Usually Mayor’s have a ‘civic service’, always in a church, the great and good in their chains turn up and the virtues of Bridgwater extolled. This year Diogo chose not to have a Mayor’s Chaplain, so instead of a beating moral compass guided over by a confessor he put on a show right there and then. As only Bridgwater does best.
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. Continue reading “Bridgwater Arts Centre Bounces Back”