PRESSURE is growing on council chiefs to save Bromsgrove’s Artrix Arts Centre – with Worcestershire County Council being urged to put together a ‘rescue package’ to keep it afloat.

Support is pouring in from across the county for the Artrix, which was forced to close for good earlier this month as the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis and government lockdown took its toll.

The Advertiser reported last week that Bromsgrove District Council said it was unable to intervene despite almost 3,500 people signing a petition set up by local Labour group members.

Now, aid is being sought from further afield with Cllr Richard Udall – who represents Worcester – asking Worcestershire County Council to act to ensure the future of the valued venue.

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Cllr Udall – the Worcestershire Labour Party spokesperson for communities - wants the council to work in tandem with other agencies to ensure the Artrix, in some form, rises again.

He said: “I hope we can turn the disaster of the closure into a new opportunity for the arts, but it needs to be a partnership.

"The Council cannot and should not do this alone, but by working with the public, artists and their representatives, we could achieve success.

"Clearly whatever happens, it will not be the same, but by our collective response we can achieve more than just leaving it to the liquidators."

Cllr Udall has suggested the current Artrix building could house a new Worcestershire County Council Arts Services, based not only on performances but also providing education and learning.

He added: "I believe a co-operative could be formed, providing a new service.

"The County Council will need to work with Bromsgrove District Council and the artists and their unions such as the Musicians Union, Equity and BECTU (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union).

"Many artists and performers have seen their whole year of bookings wiped out by the virus.

"Musicians, actors and comedians are at home and without any capacity to earn a living, once the crisis is over they will need venues such as the Artrix to provide them with income.

"Its survival is a matter of serious importance for the future of the arts in Worcestershire. We need to start working now to ensure it has a future.

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"The Artix is very well known as a comedy venue, with many artists using it to try out their new acts.

"Worcestershire needs to act to keep a valued entertainment venue of quality; it could also provide future workshops and education to help the next generations of artists."

His proposals were backed by Cllr Peter McDonald, leader of the Bromsgrove Labour Group, who added: “Although the arts centre is now closed there is still a need for an arts centre in Bromsgrove.

"Therefore, more than ever, the County Council should join with Bromsgrove District Council in doing all it can to ensure the Artrix continues as an arts centre for the foreseeable future."

Worcestershire County Council has been approached for comment.