Today (12 July), as the Heritage Lottery Fund confirmed a £4.5million National Lottery grant, ambitious and much expanded plans to transform the Globe in Stockton Town Centre into a live music and comedy venue are being revealed.
Once restored, the neglected Grade II listed Art Deco Globe will have a capacity of 3,000, firmly positioning it as the largest venue between Newcastle and Leeds, bringing an estimated £18million to the local economy each year and creating more than 250 jobs.
A world class operator, set to attract some of the biggest names in music and comedy to the Globe, has also been appointed. Global leader in live entertainment, The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), will operate the Globe for the next 25 years.
Following detailed investigative work and consultation with operators the restoration project has evolved considerably to meet the operational and business requirements of an internationally renowned operator. The new project will enable ATG to attract some of the world’s best known bands, artists and comedians to the Globe.
The new project will cost £15million in total. Alongside the £4.5million from the National Lottery, the Council will contribute £10.5million.
Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook, said: “A project of this scale and nature requires substantial investment to attract world class operators and to be feasible outside of London so we are hugely grateful of the funding from the National Lottery.
“We are continuing to see significant investments throughout the town centre including new housing developments, the Hampton by Hilton hotel, the recently formed Business Improvement District and let’s not forget the many investments from smaller businesses like micro-breweries, quirky shops, pet boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. The Globe’s restoration is the latest project to come to fruition as part of this exciting masterplan which is driving forward housing, business and cultural growth.
“The restored Globe will have a huge economic impact on Stockton Town Centre and the surrounding area while complementing existing arts organisations like Middlesbrough Town Hall and Darlington Hippodrome as well as ARC and The Georgian Theatre in Stockton, further boosting its reputation as a vibrant live music and festival town and placing Stockton-on-Tees at the cultural heart of the Tees Valley.
“The live entertainment venue will create 250 jobs and attract artists and performers who will bring more than 200,000 visitors to Stockton Town Centre every year, visitors who will also spend money in the nearby shops, cafes and bars, generating an estimated £18m boost to the local economy each year. That’s an incredible opportunity for people living and working in our Borough and will make a huge difference to the future economic prosperity of Stockton-on-Tees.”
Among ATG’s extensive portfolio are nearly 50 venues in the UK and the USA including historic West End venues like The Apollo Victoria, The Lyceum and The Savoy Theatre as well as the USA’s Broadway Theatre, The Lyric which will soon house the Broadway Premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two.
Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook, added: “It is a huge coup to attract an operator of ATG’s magnitude and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them to create a venue capable of hosting the kind of acts and performances that will attract audiences who currently have to travel to Leeds or Newcastle to enjoy music and comedy of this scale.
“We would also like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support, without their grant, none of this would be possible and we must not forget that the Globe has a rich heritage, in particular as a music venue where acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Bee-Gees played and this will be recognised throughout the redeveloped building and through a number of heritage themed activities which will continue for many years to come.”
This new National Lottery money has been awarded through HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme. It is designed to help when the cost of repairing an historic building is so high that redevelopment is simply not commercially viable. Grants of £100k to £5million bridge the financial gap, funding the vital repairs and conservation work needed to convert derelict, vacant buildings like the Globe into new, usable commercial spaces that can have a positive impact on local economies.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “In almost every town and city there is at least one historic building, like the Globe, standing empty that at one time was at the heart of the local community. Whilst much-loved, these buildings present huge financial challenges. Heritage Enterprise is using money raised through the sale of National Lottery tickets to unlock the potential of the Globe. The result is good for us all – wider regeneration, substantial local economic growth, much-needed new jobs and a wonderful part of our heritage saved from further neglect.”
Mark Cornell, Group CEO of ATG, commented: “ATG is absolutely delighted to have been selected as the preferred operator for the refurbished and regenerated Globe. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to be working with such a forward thinking and progressive council, and we are looking forward to a fruitful partnership in the years to come.
“With our producer and promoter relationships, we believe we can bring real value to the Globe and will aim to attract top artists from around the world in order to firmly establish the venue as a primary destination on the UK touring circuit. This, together, with our strong focus on customer experience, means that the Globe will be a market leading venue and will help firmly establish Stockton-on-Tees as a vibrant and cultural hub all the year round.”
Among the new elements incorporated is a main hall to allow for several seating and standing configurations which will increase the maximum capacity of the venue from 2,500 to 3,000. Additional bar and toilet facilities have been added to reflect the larger capacity using areas of the Globe together with 153 High Street next door which will also operate as a café/bar when the Globe is not in use.
Restoration consultant for the Globe is Dr David Wilmore, of Theatresearch historic theatre consultants, he said: “This project represents one of the most ambitious and visionary theatre restoration projects by a local authority. The economic benefits associated with this kind of approach are exceptional, furthermore the anticipated new audiences will unquestionably attract additional capital investment whilst enhancing both the streetscape and other key buildings within the historic Stockton High Street.”
An extension of a six storey part of the building will include dressing rooms, greenroom and full high tech production facilities while new stalls flooring with demountable seating and an under stage storage system along with a slightly raised stage will allow for standing audiences.
A number of facilities have also been added to support major touring shows including a state-of-the-art scissor lift which will allow large shows with sets and equipment to be moved from street level directly down to the stage, new stage lighting galleries and a full security curtain.
Preparatory works to make sure the building is water tight and safe are reaching the final stages and, subject to Cabinet approval, Wilmott Dixon will carry out the first stages of the full restoration works this autumn ahead of the Globe opening its doors in spring 2019.
An update report will go before a special meeting of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet on 20 July.