Since 1932 this building in Corporation Street has always been a place where people meet and digest entertainment and culture and was the civic pride of Taunton.
Over 7 years ago a local man Jim Laflin and his volunteers campaigned to reclaim the Mecca Bingo Hall for the community (it use to be called The Gaumont). Though great strides were made and the local council agreed support it never happened as the Rank Company who own the building did not want to sell. We have yet to have talks with them again but with the increase of online Bingo and the drop in visitors this may be the right time to reclaim once again. While our team start these talks, we want to collect responses from those who support the reclaim so we can build a case for the community and start fundraising.
If you have never been in this amazing building, who use to show big names of the past such as The Beatles, David Bowie and many more, you should as its one of Taunton’s greatest treasures. We want to bring back civic pride and take the baton from Jim Laflin and campaign once again to make this venue the best entertainment and community space local and visiting people will love.
Here’s a quick whistle stop tour of the how we intend to kick start and run this campaign.
First we get supporters of all types to sign-up. We bring professionals on-board to assist in negotiations, feasibility and investment strategies. We launch new talks to get council support. We will actively seek private and public investors to help raise funds.
We offer local people a piece of the pie e.g. the population on Taunton Deane is 110,000, if 50,000 people invested in £100 each we could raise £5m and we would seek match funding from other funding bodies. Though we do not know the selling or refit price we do know its estimated between £5-7m. Compare that to a new theatre build that would cost £10-12m is makes sense to bring back Mecca to the people.
Please note that we have yet to convince the Rank Company to sell and Mecca’s member’s will not be affected as campaigns like this takes years to achieve so we are here for the long term. However, in the past it was rumored that money from the sell might be used to build a new bingo facility in Taunton.
48% of local people living in Taunton want to reclaim the Mecca Bingo Hall
With over 1000+ seating capacity we would be able to attract bigger shows and audiences to Taunton and support local theatre companies
See big bands, well-known artists and great orchestras plus local music gigs and music development
Taunton would have a large dance hall for tea dances to DJ nights, plus the chance to hold indoor events like markets, trade shows and more
With multiple rooms we can create a great art gallery for visiting and local artists and used for education purposes
We can deliver workshops and taster session, toddler mornings or simply hold community events in a civic building of pride
We could provide a great creative space for the community to meet other people and groups and find out the latest community activities
With a population of 110,000 in Taunton Deane and more houses been built where will these people go for great entertainment and community events
Once established this venue could contribute as much as £10m in just five years and create jobs and boost local business
82% of people purchase food locally when you going out for entertainment and 55% drink elsewhere before and after
95% of the population of Taunton believe that Taunton Deane Brough Council should invest in culture and entertainment within Taunton
A larger theatre that can double as a concert venue would be really useful as well - it's shameful for a town like Taunton not to have a decent-size venue.
This isn't going to attract the really big names who need arenas to perform in, but it will deliver the next best thing
I would welcome the ability to visit Taunton to hear orchestral concerts, watch ballet and possibly opera or operetta. If the theatre were able to attract a broad and diverse programme of events I am sure it would serve all strands of society
I have lived here all my life and with my own children and aging parents I want to ensure that they all get equal opportunities to live in a place that has community, arts and culture at its heart