The Friends of Brixham Theatre was formed in 2008 by a group of like-minded individuals who were concerned that Brixham Theatre was under-used and was falling into disrepair. This group later re-named itself as Brixham Arts and Theatre Society (BATS), with a wider remit to support the arts in the Brixham area.
BATS made an agreement with Torbay Council, then owners of Brixham Theatre to take on its management from 2010, until the building was transferred to Brixham Town Council. Before being granted a tenancy for Brixham Theatre in September 2013, the community group became Brixham Arts & Theatre Society, a non-profit making company, limited by guarantee.
The current Directors are Cecilia Potten and Kathy Clarke and the Company Secretary is Olive Farnham.
The Company Mission is to support and encourage artistic endeavour in the Brixham peninsula.
- Encouraging existing artistic groups
- Supporting new artistic ventures
- Promoting artistic aspirations
- Developing artistic opportunities for all generations
- Creating arts, theatre and community hubs in Brixham
BATS operates on a purely voluntary basis, by the BATS Members.. All surplus funds are used to enhance the specific artistic projects, including fostering new writing and creation, in the Brixham area.
BATS managed Brixham Theatre from September 2013 to May 2018, when the ever-increasing overheads, including a 50% increase in rent, and diminishing hirings, made the theatre unviable and the BATS Board handed back the lease under the break clause.
For the future, BATS continues to support exciting new projects that advance the arts and culture in Brixham and the surrounding area. These have included:
- The commissioning of 'The Brixham Beacon', a sculptural artwork to replace the old beacon fire basket on Berry Head. It is now based at Lupton House and available for future community beacon celebrations.
- Organising the ‘Battle’s Over’ commemoration of the 100 years since the ending of WW1, held at Shoalstone Pool on Sunday 11 November 2018,
- Supporting the establishment of The Spark Creative Studio in Metherell Avenue, Brixham, where participatory arts for all ages take place.
- Creation of a recycled art project, 'The Doves of Peace', from plastic milk bottles for display across the town for the Platinum Jubilee icelebrations in June 2022
- Commissioning 'The Embarkation Mural 'artwork on Berry Head Road to bring together the various separate elements of commemoration of the embarkation of the American troops for both Exercise Tiger and Operation Overlord in the Second World War and establishing a war memorial garden.
- Researching and creating an interactive website on 'brixhamwalks.org' with routes encompassing different themes across the town, starting with 'The Steps of Brixham'.