Taunton Deane Borough Council is currently negotiating with the administrator of the Brewhouse to buy the remaining lease of the building. TDBC owns the land and, due to Arts Council England placing an initial condition on capital funding, the Brewhouse can only be leased, if it is managed as a theatre and arts venue. However, this is only until 2016. Structural problems are also being assessed and will inevitably be a factor in negotiations.
Meanwhile, Taunton Theatre Association has been formed as an umbrella group representing many different societies and approaches, including the Taunton Association of Performing Arts, the Royal Society of Arts, the Somerset ArtGallery Trust and the Civic Society. The TTA is working with Cllr John Meikle,well known for his leadership in establishing the Brewhouse Theatre and his ongoing support for the arts, and Cllr Eddie Gaines, who has been active in leading the campaign to re-open the theatre.
The Association submitted a community-led bid to the administrator in April. This proposed a pluralistic business model, with the building run by a small team of professionals and a wide volunteer base. It is intended to produce a balanced programme of internationaland national touring companies, alongside local productions and a mix of visualarts and other art forms. Education and outreach work are also critical.
The Association intends to raise its profile and seek acting trustees to overseethe process of setting up a charitable trust or a Community Interest Company, starting with a stand outside the Brewhouse at Somerfest on Saturday 15 June.