DID you know Bridgwater was home to the country's first arts centre?

Well, apparently it was, and it turns 75 on Sunday, October 10, and is set to celebrate in style, with an open day from 11am to 4pm.

"The bar will be open, the Chandos Society will have an art exhibition in the gallery, there’ll be food available in the garden and musicians will be dropping in and performing throughout the day," said a spokesperson.

"Every one is welcome to this free event. The building will be open for people to wander around to see what’s on offer, from the theatre, to the gallery, to the garden and back to the bar.

"You don’t need a ticket, you don’t need to be a member (but you can join if you want) you just need to be interested."

The Arts Centre can be found in Bridgwater’s historic Castle Street.

It was opened in 1946 as a space where the many different arts forms in the town could come together and meet, share works, perform, exhibit and entertain.

Over the years it has hosted everything from folk to jazz to classical to punk music, exhibited local, national and international artists and staged both self written plays by local authors and national touring theatre companies, and put on comedians, poets, singer-songwriters, tribute bands, youth theatre and cabaret.

Now owned and supported by Bridgwater Town Council, the arts centre is up and running again after it’s covid closure and and has a full programme ahead.

Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Brian Smedley, said: “The Arts Centre is another Bridgwater first which we are incredibly proud of and is crucial to such a creative town as ours.

"It’s survived 75 years despite all the odds and we need it to survive another 75, at least.

"But for that to happen we need people to support it and make sure it survives.

"The centre needs volunteers to run it, customers to use it and promoters and performers to recognise its place as an ideal intimate venue for the creative, performance and visual arts.

"Drop in on Sunday and have a look around. That’s how most of us got involved in the first place.”

Sunday, October 10: Programme

11am: doors open (bar open-gallery open -food available)

11.30am-noon: Voice of the People Choir

Noon-12.30pm: Mariusz on the piano

12.30pm-2pm: Jazzical Swing

2pm-2.30pm: Elaine di Campo 

2.30pm-3pm: Yvette Staelens

3pm-4pm: Red Smed (and guests)