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About Us – Project Gaumont

About Us – Project Gaumont

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Why Choose Us

About Project Gaumont

Since 2017 Somerset Arts Business Cultural Alliance (SABCA) and Creative Innovation Centre (CICCIC) have been working hard to reclaim Gaumont Palace as an arts and cultural venue. With professional local people on its board, each are working towards a solution for running the venue and bringing much needed economic growth to Taunton town centre.

Chair and project lead Andrew Knutt and its board are key in driving this forward and all have the capacity to see Project Gaumont become a reality. To this end the Project Gaumont team has been set up so that it is the preferred organisation whose role is to open and run the venue in the future.

Project Gaumont also has a joint-committee working with organisation Citizens UK Somerset branch and we are working with other groups.


Creating a Solution for
Project Gaumont

Our Mission

To be an iconic and inspiring destination where the UK’s greatest events and experiences unfold. To be the place everyone is talking about and be the catalyst for great arts and culture worthy of Somerset’s county town.

Our Vision

We will provide and manage this multi-purpose cultural venue, resources, business, volunteers, and know-how to help deliver projects and events, which inspire, engage and involve local residents and visitors and celebrates our creative community, arts, culture and heritage.

Our Strategy

To work with outstanding artists to create an innovative programme that crosses art forms, collaborating with organisations from around the globe to give audiences opportunities to experience outstanding work by acclaimed UK and international companies and artists. Using local talent to support these arts and culture activities.   

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Why Choose Us

Our History

Since 1932 Gaumont Palace in Corporation Street has always been a place where people meet and digest entertainment, film and culture and was the civic pride of Taunton. In the 1980’s it was taken over by The Rank Group and become a bingo hall and has been one ever since.

In 2009 a local man, Jim Laflin, and his volunteers campaigned to reclaim the ‘Mecca Bingo Hall’ for the community. Though great strides were made, and the local council agreed to support, it never happened as the company who owned the building at the time did not want to sell. Now the local council own the building, which was purchased in 2019.

In 2014, Andrew Knutt contacted the Laflin family to assist and continue the campaign, but the sad news that Jim Laflin had passed away meant that there was no one to continue and Jim’s work had been lost. Andrew took it upon himself to restart the reclaiming of Gaumont Palace and through his professional business connections formailised ‘Project Gaumont’ in 2017.

Today, we continue with work behind the scenes such as negotiating and winning support from local councillors and officers, business planning, permissions and licensing, planning retro fitting for a listed building, financial planning and developing human resources and event planning strategy. 

Our Team Member

Discover our trusted team & Experts

10 million

Economic Contribution

Once established this venue could contribute as much as £10m+ each year in the wider economy and create jobs, boost local business and revitalise the town centre day and night

120 k


With a population of 120,000 in Taunton Deane and more houses been built the community need entertainment and community events

82 %

Spending Elsewhere

82% of people purchase food locally when you going out for entertainment and 55% drink elsewhere before and after. Helping local businesses to flourish and grow

250 k

Tickets Sold

For large 1000-seater venues our research has shown that they sell, as a minimum, 250,000 tickets per year and that could generate £10m pa in the local economy