Whilst it may seem that not too much is happening of late, behind-the-scenes activity is busier than ever.
Following consultations, professional and legal advice we have now completed the process of forming Taunton Theatre Association Ltd, a charitable company limited by guarantee. This is the first stage in becoming a registered charity with a full trustee board. We are currently drawing up the rules of the company and its formal structure, and will publish these in due course.
Meanwhile, the company has three unpaid directors (Mark Dawson, Val Hammond and Phil Bower) and founder members (Caroline Corfe, Richard Holt, Beccy Armory, Eddie Gaines, Lynn Carter, Guy Wolfenden and the directors) all of whom are also guarantors of the company, and sit together on the steering committee. There will be further directors appointed in due time, recognising our need for professional support and input.
Lentells Ltd kindly offered free accountancy services to the business, and the use of their address for business correspondence. We also have benefited from a free website provision and many other offers, all of which are a great help to our enterprise.
As a legal entity we are better placed to enter into discussions with Taunton Deane Borough Council to continue our aim of securing the operating licence for the Theatre and Arts Centre. We are also continuing to garner support and advice from professional organisations and individuals from the wider business community, entertainment and leisure industry and professional theatre, educational and music industries.
In the current landscape of funding cuts the bulk of the operating costs will have to be met from commercial activities. We are looking at ways that the building can provide for the needs of our Taunton community in terms of delivering a vibrant and challenging drama and arts portfolio and, at the same time, generate sufficient return to function sustainably (and allow some longer term financial planning to deliver security for the venture in the future).
In the meantime we are looking at how to raise funds to re-open the theatre. We have identified a need for some £350,000 to support the start up phase and contribute to our first year of operation. To assist with this your ideas will be greatly appreciated (please send to firstname.lastname@example.org). We will be contacting those who have volunteered to help with fundraising to arrange a get together (if you would like to included in this please do let us know).
So far we have met the company formation funds by donations made by the founder members and, because we are starting from virtually a zero-funded position, we would be grateful for any donations. Cheques can be made payable to “Taunton Theatre Association Ltd” and sent to us at: Taunton Theatre Association Ltd, c/o Lentells, Ash House, Cook Way, Taunton. TA2 6BJ.
On September 3, we will be having an open meeting under the auspices of the Civic Society to be held at 7.30pm at the United Reform Church Hall in Paul Street (next to CICCIC) to talk about our plans and aspirations. However, given that we haven’t yet won the licence to operate we will be fairly circumspect about the detail, whilst nevertheless aiming to build support for the venture. Do come if you are able.
Your ongoing support is appreciated. We look forward to being able to give you another update in the near future and are happy to respond to any questions.
Phil Bower, Val Hammond, Mark Dawson
Taunton Theatre Association Ltd