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First live music at The Globe, Stockton, since Quo in 1975
A derelict theatre has been granted £4m of lottery cash to finally re-open. Chris Webber ventured inside The Globe in Stockton to meet those who have vowed to return it to its former glory.
THE sound of live music eminated from the stage for the first time today (Friday, October 11) since Status Quo strummed through their three chord repertoire 38 years ago.
It eminated from a damp stage - beneath dim lights - but nevertheless it proved to be the first live performance to grace the Globe Theatre since Rossi and Parfitt's visit of 1975.
However, this was a much quieter affair: just the soft, beautiful voice of a young woman and two men strumming acoustic guitars in the bare Grade II listed art deco building.
But there was a simple joy in the performance of the Beatle songs, 'Yesterday' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hold Your Hand', played by Stockton group Cattle and Cane - to celebrate the official announcement.
The Northern Echo reported earlier today (Friday) that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is to provide nearly £4m towards the refurbishments of this 2,500 capacity venue.
Now more details have begun to emerge on the rest of the finances required.
Stockton Borough Council will hand over another £1m and owners, development company Jomast, who have already invested an undisclosed amount on research and stabilising what was a water-logged, vandal-hit building, will eventually have contributed about £2m.
So, the total project will cost about £7m to resurrect the 1935-built Art Deco venue which is to be used primarily to stage 65 music and comedy shows a year.
That will hopefully attracting 82,500 paying customers annually, bringing £2.5m into the town centre economy.
It was those kind of hard statistics, based on detailed research, that were crucial in persuading the HLF to hand over the cash.
Ivor Crowther, head of the HLF in the North-East, explained that £48m had been requested for various building projects across the country for a budget of just £19m.
“For the Globe to get £4m of that says much for this project and the region,” he said.
Listening to the music in the semi-darkness was Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, whose first ever visit to the town was to see The Marmalade perform at the Globe as a 15-year-old.
“This is the best day for Stockton for years,” he said, explaining pubs and a hotel have already been bought up by investors in anticipation of success. “It could drive the whole town centre economy.”
Contrary to previous reports which said the Globe Theatre would have re-opened even without the lottery cash, Stuart Monk, director of Jomast, revealed that “it was difficult to envisage” how the venue could have been restored without the charity money.
“Let’s just say we’re delighted,” he said.
The Beatle’s 'Yesterday' rang out from the stage, the singer on the exact spot where John Lennon once sang the Fab Four's famous song.
But the message of the day was more Fleetwood Mac: 'Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow'.
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