Having suffered from the refocus of public funds on STEM subjects and engineering/science facilities, the Arts have had little to celebrate in the South West in recent times. That is all changing, though – and we were delighted to meet and hear the latest from Julian Morgan, chairman of Tiverton Community Arts Theatre (TCAT).
In Tiverton, momentum is gathering for a £10m, purpose-built facility proposed for the popular TCAT, to be sited opposite the High School from which it is currently operates. Architect Tim Foster, along with Chris Moore and Brian Harris from ALC Consultancy, have completed preliminary scoping and brief development work with encouraging findings.
They have also created visuals and secured the support of actress Caroline Quentin in order to help generate general enthusiasm for the scheme. Ms Quentin, who lives locally, believes the theatre has the potential to create a vibrant cultural heart for Mid Devon, whose population is set to expand significantly over the next Plan period, and to become a commercially-valuable draw for visitors from across the region.
Meanwhile, in Taunton, a £12m project to regenerate The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre at Coal Orchard has taken another step forward with the appointment of MICA Architects, which also developed the Southbank Masterplan, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and National Maritime Museum.
The announcement was made last month by the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Delivery is anticipated by autumn 2022.