STROUD’S Subscription Rooms director Hugh Phillimore says the arts venue will not be closing down, following reports it was set to shut at the end of March.
The community arts venue was the topic of discussion at a Stroud Town Council meeting last night. The SNJ reporter was barred from the section of the meeting during which the Sub Rooms’ financial situation was addressed, but sources on the town council told us the venue looked set to close at the end of March.
However, Hugh Phillimore, voluntary director and trustee of the Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust, which has been leasing the building from Stroud Town Council for the past 12 months, said the venue would close “over my dead body”.
Speaking to the SNJ today, he was adamant that the Sub Rooms would keep going.
He said: “The Sub Rooms will not close.
“We’ve made a very good start in our first year running The Subs – and it’s culminated in the news that we have been approved for grants from the Summerfield Trust and the Arts Council Grassroots Live Music fund to support our work.
“But our next steps are absolutely vital to ensure that future of the building, in order to gather ourselves and carry out the next phase of work we will at some point temporarily shut the doors for a short amount of time in order for work to be completed on the building.
“Thanks to the grant money that we have received we will be able to use this time to make some long-awaited improvements to the sound and acoustics in the ballroom, and to overhaul the upstairs bar – so that people can enjoy a drink while appreciating the improved sound.”
“This first year has been incredibly hard work,” Hugh added. “When we took over the building there was nothing, no internet, no computers, no tills… We had to start from scratch.
“During the first year we have achieved so much, from cutting running costs by around a quarter, to refurbishing several of the rooms in the building.
“We’ve begun to completely overhaul the programming too – bringing a more diverse selection of performers from a broader range of genres – which in turn has seen a 20 per cent increase in ticket sales, and eight sold-out events in the last six months alone.
“We’ve only just got started.”
A spokesman for the town council said: “Stroud Town Council received a confidential preliminary report on the Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust’s first year, which will be published on 16th March.
“While Stroud Town Council owns the building, the Subscription Rooms is leased by the Trust which is responsible for running the venue.
“Stroud Town Council will issue a statement next week in conjunction with the Trust’s report.”