MUSICIANS and staff at Sage Gateshead are thrilled they can prepare for the return of live audiences.

In June, socially-distanced audiences will be able to come together in its world-class concert hall for its New Beginnings series, featuring gigs and Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts, which will also be live streamed to enjoy at home.

The safety of audiences, artists and staff is Sage Gateshead’s number one priority, and so social distancing will be maintained at the venue, building on the measures put in place successfully last autumn for SageLive2020.

The line-up for June sees Sunderland’s post-punk four-piece and long-time friends of Sage Gateshead, The Futureheads perform a very special acoustic show on Saturday June 5.

This rare opportunity to experience a different side to the band, will feature a mix of acoustic and a cappella song arrangements, intricate four-part vocal harmonies and plenty of banter.

Royal Northern Sinfonia returns to the stage on Friday June 11 with RNS: Bach to Bach.

From the sweeping majesty of his 3rd Orchestral Suite to the jubilation of the opening Sonata, this concert showcases Bach at his best. RNS is joined by baroque specialist Rachael Podger, known for the joy she radiates on stage, to direct this concert.

The legendary Jazz Jamaica look forward to bringing a ray of Caribbean sunshine to Sage Gateshead on Friday June 18. Established in 1991 by the respected double bassist Gary Crosby, Jazz Jamaica has been entertaining audiences with exuberant live performances and dynamic album releases over the past three decades.

And on Friday June 25 Royal Northern Sinfonia performs Beethoven’s brooding Fourth Symphony bringing Sage Gateshead’s New Beginnings to a fitting finale.

Sage Gateshead managing director Abigail Pogson said: “I am so pleased we can now welcome audiences back. Everyone has missed that unique buzz and excitement of live music in a great room. Safety will be our top priority and we hope people will also have a great night out.

“We would not be here without the incredible support of all of those who have donated to our Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance fundraising campaign in the past year. Thanks to so many people, we have overcome the initial crisis.

“But the road to recovery will be long and our financial challenges won’t end for a while. In pre-Covid times, we would be hosting hundreds of concerts, events and classes each month, welcoming thousands of people of all ages into our fantastic spaces. As we take the first steps towards recovery, our income is still hugely affected, and contributions from music fans, businesses and philanthropic organisations remain vitally important.

“Every ticket top-up, every member signing up, every person making a donation, every corporate contribution and every message of support means the world to us. We want to rebuild live music in our region following the devastating impact of the pandemic and ensure music is part of everybody’s recovery. We can’t do this alone. Thank you.”