A city centre artist studio and gallery will be screening a classic episode of Liverpool drama Boys from the Blackstuff, filmed there on location 30 years ago.

The event marks the launch of the Bridewell Studio’s film club as part of its attempts to raise funds after losing its business rate relief.

The artist-run space on Prescot Street, just up the road from the Royal, will be showing Jobs for the Boys as part of an event on Sunday, February 3. The famous episode of the Alan Bleasdale drama, which introduces the iconic Yosser Hughes, also tells the story of trade unionist and plasterer Snowy Malone, who eventually falls to his death from a window of the Bridewell after signing his name on the wall. Much of the episode was filmed in and around the old police station.

The afternoon will also include traditional Liverpool songs from a local folk band including the Boys from the Blackstuff ballad, the original Liverpool navvy song from which the Alan Bleasdale series took its name.
The £10 entry fee includes membership of the Blue Lamp Film Club at the venue, a tour of the Bridewell, and a bowl of scouse or blind scouse.

Like many similar organisations in the city, the Bridewell had, up until recently, received a discretionary 80% relief of its business rates because of its importance to the city’s cultural economy and support and promotion of the arts.

Now, the artists based there fear the situation will cripple the studio and gallery, which is a Grade II listed building. Urgent repairs are no longer affordable.

Bridewell Studios was founded by in 1976 with the aim of providing affordable studios to artists working in Liverpool. Currently, some 33 artists and craft members work from the various spaces – including the cells – and most recently it exhibited a number of local, national and international artists as part of the Independents Biennial.

Throughout its history the Bridewell has provided studio space for Anish Kapoor, Adrian Henri, Maurice Cockerall, Ian McKeever and the singer David Gray, among many others. It is recognised by English Heritage as a rare example of a complete late-Victorian police station, and attracts hundreds visitors during the annual Heritage Open Weekends.

The Bridewell has been advised by the council to apply for charitable status that would reinstate a 80% discount on rates, but this is not guaranteed and they will have to wait and see whether that is granted.

Not only that, but the rateable value of the area in which it stands doubled in a recent revaluation – this decision is currently being appealed against. As it stands, paying the full whack of business rates will take up two thirds of the venue’s entire income, which comes only from studio rent of members as it is.

The Boys from the Blackstuff fundraising event takes place between 2pm and 6pm on Sunday (February 3) Tickets are £10 from Eventbrite (plus £1.50 booking fee).

For more information on the Bridewell, visit www.bridewellstudios.co.uk

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