Taunton Brewhouse opened its doors on March 28 1977 – after a successful campaign led by John Wilkins and Cllr John Meikle for a theatre in Taunton. It is situated on the Coal Orchard Site on the banks of the River Tone and is built on the site of an old brewery with the Georgian Brew Master’s house still incorporated. Its first professional production was Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests, starring the then unknown David Jason.
From the start it enjoyed support from the local community who were fully involved in fundraising and it continues to benefit from the many volunteers who work front of house and behind the scenes and serve on the Board of Trustees.
Since the 70s it has become a much-valued theatre and arts centre in Taunton – frequented not only by local people but those traveling from all over the South West and further afield.
Audiences return again and again for the quality of its shows, enjoying live music, plays, films and event cinema, comedy, family shows and exhibitions. Taunton Brewhouse is grateful for its regular funding from Arts Council England and Somerset West and Taunton Council, without which it couldn’t run Learn – its outreach and educational programme. Learn covers activities like craft making, painting and dance that schools and anyone in the community can participate in at subsidised rates, ensuring it is inclusive. Taunton Brewhouse is also successful in attracting grant funding most recently from the Weston Culture Fund for its new Distillery programme – which aims to nurture and support regional artists at each stage of their career.
In 2020 after a public consultation which all stakeholders were invited to take part in, Taunton Brewhouse rebranded with the help of local creative agency Teapot Creative, resulting in a change of visual identity carried across all formats and a reimagining of its core values. See Our Story.
The theatre and arts centre has become a community hub – known for the warmth of its welcome, from volunteers and staff. It is a place to meet family and friends, enjoy a show or an exhibition, to have a coffee and relax and forget the world outside for a while.
Taunton Brewhouse aims to continue to provide quality arts activity for the people of Taunton and the surrounding communities, for many years to come.