Two Monkeys documentary on Sunderland's rave scene set to welcome new students to the city
A documentary which captures the stories behind two Sunderland dance clubs is to be screened as a welcome to new students arriving at the city's university.
Two Monkeys focuses on the Blue Monkey, which was in Bedford Street in the city centre, and New Monkey, in Pallion Road, with the film to be screened as part of this year's University of Sunderland Welcome Week for new students.
The film is the result of months of work from digital film production graduates Rob Kilburn and Lewis Dodds, with the university stating the impact of the closed clubs, their music and reputation are still relevant today.
The documentary will be screened at the university cinema at St Peter’s Media Centre on Wednesday, September 18, at 6.30pm.
Rob, 25, from Seaburn, said: “This turned out to be quite a complex project but we are delighted with the result and have had some really positive feedback.
“The film has had more than 50,000 views online and we are looking forward to the screening at the university next month.”
While Rob was much younger at the peak of the clubs’ popularity, he still remembers the impact and reputation they had on young people growing up in Sunderland.
He said: “They were the most talked about places; they reached beyond being just nightclubs.
"The music they were playing was quite wide-reaching.”
The venues highlighted music genres including Makina, a form of hardcore techno which originated in Spain with a keen following in the North East, and Monta, the events held to dance and listen to it.
The Blue Monkey was set up in an old bingo hall on land where the Empire cinema now stands and was a haven for ravers in the 1990s before it burned down.
In 1999, the former Plaza Bingo Hall in Pallion was turned into a club, this time called the New Monkey.
However, residents living near by objected to the plans, claiming their lives would be disrupted by late night comings and goings, loud music and antisocial behaviour.
It closed in March 2006 following a police raid.