THE future of a town centre music venue is bright despite a long-serving volunteer standing down after more than 20 years.
Phil Swinburne has been involved with The Studio since the 1980s, helping the Tower Street venue through some highs and lows.
Phil admits there have been more lows than highs in recent years, with the venue coming close to closing on a few occasions after various funding issues.
But having helped lead The Studio through those troubles, Phil - who has been the chairman of the trustees - has decided to call it a day.
The Studio looked set to close in 2010, but new life was breathed into it when Hartlepool College of Further Eduaction and Cleveland College of Art and Design got on board.
That joy was short-lived however when cuts across the education sector forced the colleges to withdraw their support at the start of 2013.
But the venue, which has staged hundreds of local acts over the years, has lived to fight another day after people rallied round.
Phil, 55, said: “I’ve been involved for more than 20 years, longer than I’d care to remember, and I just feel the time is right to take a step back now.
“The Studio has a good team behind it now, there are some fresh, dynamic ideas, and it has a bright future.
“I’m leaving it in good hands, there are some new trustees in place and there is a lot to look forward to.”
Phil says the highlight of his time at the helm was simply keeping the place open.
He added: “There have been plenty of highs and lows over the years, but when we came so close to having to shut everything down for good then the fact it remained open is the highlight.
“It’s a place that gets under your skin, and it does occupy a lot of your mind.
“There are a lot of people I’d like to thank for their help, such as councillors and volunteers and people who rallied round in our time of need.
“But I think Tony Rowsell and Mark Pinchen deserve special praise as they have been tremendous. Obviously I will continue to support The Studio, and I wish everyone connected with it all the best for the future. I’m confident it’s in safe hands.”
To support The Studio call (01429) 424440.
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