Sunderland venue The Point undergoes £100,000 revamp to attract more big names after Johnny Vegas coup
A Sunderland venue is undergoing £100,000 of investment as it aims to firmly stamp itself on the touring circuit.
Moving away from its roots as a nightclub, The Point has diversified in recent years to become a multi-purpose venue, hosting everything from sporting events such as boxing and MMA, to banquets and balls, and gigs by the likes of The Dead Daisies, John Lydon’s PiL and DJs Roger Sanchez and Patrick Topping.
Now, as part of its ongoing drive to establish a much-needed mid-size venue in the city centre, £100,000 has been invested in the lighting, sound system and structurally altering the site to increase its capacity as it gears up for one of its biggest years yet.
As well as a host of Ultra White Collar boxing and MMA charity events and high-profile balls, the venue is hosting top comedians Paul Smith and Johnny Vegas, and Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp who will be bringing his 80s party to the venue.
Managing director Andrew Golding says they’re in talks to announce more big names for 2020.
“Newcastle has the O2 Academy and that’s the size of venue we aim to be for Sunderland,” he explained. “A lot of money was invested in this site when it opened as a nightclub, with £750,000 invested in light and sound alone.
“But we’ve really invested in improving that further to really enhance the performances and establish ourselves as an arts and events space. You can’t get big names to come without it.”
He added: “When it opened as a nightclub it was very much a super club, but times have changed. The night-time economy has changed, there’s been a shift away from clubs, which is down to things like people’s disposable income and the fact that people are more health conscious. We needed to diversify in response to that and give people different choices of entertainment.”
As part of the structural work, a central mezzanine was removed, which increased the capacity from 250 people to 400 for a banquet; from 300 to 600 for theatre-style seating and up to 1,500 standing for a gig.
A portable stage also means the room can be altered according to the booking, while a new Green Room helps to cater for acts back stage.
The ongoing changes have led to a number of sold-out nights at the venue, and Andrew, who’s worked at a number of city centre bars over the years including the long-gone Paddy Whacks and The Glass Spider, which enjoyed great success at their peak, says the night time economy is picking up.
“There has been massive changes in the city centre recently and, by focusing on things like live music, you can see it picking up,” he said.
The Point’s downstairs bar Glitterball has also branched into a games area for people wanting alternatives to alcohol on a night out.
Sister businesses Chaplins and Ttonic have also undergone a programme of investment and refurbishment recently, with plans in the pipeline to help attract and retain city centre custom.
The Point remains open throughout the refurbishment.