Academy Music Group makes significant investment at O2 City Hall Newcastle and increases capacity

photos: Jim Ellam

A cultural landmark in Newcastle’s City Centre, O2 City Hall Newcastle has been one of the most important concert and entertainment venues in the North-East for almost 100 years. Academy Music Group has now invested significantly to breathe new life into the much-loved venue and improve the versatility, quality and flexibility of future live events and performances with investment in a brand-new, state-of-the-art retractable seating system, major restoration works and enhancements in house sound and lighting production.

The multi-functional auditorium is now also able to host varying shows and events with a maximum capacity of 2,600 as an all-standing stalls area to bring audiences closer to the stage, whilst continuing with the flexibility to use a fully seated option, that has improved comfort and sightlines.

“When we acquired O2 City Hall Newcastle back in May 2019, we knew that it needed significant adjustments to reinstate it to its former glory and get it firmly back on the schedule for major touring acts,” says Academy Music Group’s chief operating officer, Graham Walters. “It’s a stunning room, one that has seen the biggest names in rock and pop over the last four decades. Investment in modern facilities, including the option to have an all-standing auditorium, had to be on the agenda to offer a flexible space, as well as keeping a seated configuration. This way, we can hugely extend the variety of live music and events to tour in Newcastle and make sure we preserve its future for people and the community to enjoy for generations to come.”

O2 City Hall Newcastle is part of Academy Music Group’s award-winning portfolio of venues across the UK, several of them unique cultural institutions, including London’s iconic O2 Academy Brixton and O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Opened in 1927, the Grade-II-listed venue is one of Newcastle’s first dedicated concert venues, which also houses an original Harrison & Harrison organ. In addition to the new custom-designed seating system, Academy Music Group has also undertaken other much-needed improvements over the pandemic including new additional toilets, refurbishment of the basement bar and a new extra bar area at balcony level, as well as a brand-new LED ceiling-lighting system in the main auditorium to enhance the stunning architectural design and atmosphere, plus a significant investment in a full production install of PA and stage lighting systems.

Gareth Griffiths, director of partnerships and sponsorship for Virgin Media O2, adds; “This development paves the way for many more iconic performances to take the stage at O2 City Hall Newcastle. We’re thrilled to be part of this next phase in the venue’s story.”


Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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