VOLUNTEERS have rallied to bring Bridgwater Arts Centre back from the brink, according to the leader of Bridgwater Town Council.

The Arts Centre had made headlines in November after a roof leak forced the theatre to close, there were cancellations and eventually the loss of the last paid staff.

However in 2019 Arts Centre members and users old and new have been rallying to bring the facility back to its best.

A conditions survey on the roof has just been carried out and the costs for repairs will be discussed by Bridgwater Town Council at its meeting on Thursday night.

As Spring arrives in Bridgwater the Arts Centre is once again open to the public with an exhibition in the gallery and a full programme of bar and gallery events.

Town Council leader Cllr Brian Smedley 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.”

Acting chairman of the Arts Centre is Clr Tony Heywood, who 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.”

Upcoming events include a Rock and Pop Quiz on Saturday, March 16 at 8pm which is £2 per person, maximum teams of four.

Then on Thursday, March 21 at 8pm there will be an Acoustic Night, which is a free event where you can bring your own instrument and join other local performers.

The following night there us the return of The Jazzical Swing Band to the Arts Centre Bar, playing music made famous by the likes of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Benny Goodman.

This gig is also free.

Then on Friday, March 29 at 8pm there will be classic and rare Reggae and Ska with Dave Chapple’s Red Shadow Sound System.