29 September 2021
In May 2019 Sage Gateshead, the international centre for music and events on the banks of the River Tyne, was awarded National Lottery funding through Arts Council England to make vital improvements to the venue’s facilities – the first major refurbishment to take place since the building opened in 2004.
Sage Gateshead is delighted visitors can now enjoy the transformations as it returns to live music and looks to recover from the huge impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on its finances and operations. The capital project turned the iconic building into an even more welcoming, versatile and enjoyable space for all visitors – from concert-goers, music learners and artists, to conference delegates and event attendees.
The project included the refurbishment of the public concourse and changes to its seating system in Sage One to enable standing gigs and events. The works were completed during the closure of the building following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Managing Director Abigail Pogson said: “As we recover from the pandemic, we want to ensure we reach more people and create more opportunities for a wider range of people. These improvements will ensure Sage Gateshead remains a world-class, flexible resource for the community, making every audience member, participant, delegate and artist’s experience better than ever, now and in the years to come.”
These refurbishments make the venue an even more versatile and high-quality host for conferences and events. The income of the venue’s commercial activities contributes directly to the organisation’s charitable work in the North East.
Encompassing the communal areas of the public concourse, Sage Gateshead – together with their principal project partners Aptus – has focused on elevating its unique location in the heart of the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside; providing zoned seating areas to enjoy the view, increased food and beverage outlets, a fully renovated restaurant space with private dining options, a new cocktail bar and an overhauled central café. The space offers a stunning area for all visitors and leaves a lasting impression of quality.
With versatility in mind, custom-made kiosks have been designed for high-traffic events and a designated co-working space added. The stunning concourse, as the heart of the venue, remains fully flexible for exhibitions. The addition of high-spec digital signage has diversified the sponsorship and branding opportunities available to clients.
Jessica McCabe, Head of Audience experience, Sales and Events at Sage Gateshead said “The capital project was a major milestone in the history of Sage Gateshead. The quality that has been achieved and to know the added value it brings to our audiences and conference clients alike is brilliant. The versatility of the space continues to grow and I know that it raises our conference offer even further.”
Chris Price, Managing Director at Aptus said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Sage Gateshead and the wider design team. To have the opportunity to work on one of the region’s most recognisable landmark buildings is really exciting for all the team at Aptus.”
Sage Gateshead was awarded National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s capital programme to enable the project to go ahead. This has been matched by generous donations and pledges from Gateshead Council, individuals, trusts and businesses from the North East and across the country, including The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, Barbour Foundation, The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, The Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Stuart Halbert Foundation, LNER Customer and Community Investment Fund (CCIF), Sir James Knott Trust and Wolfson Foundation, all recognising Sage Gateshead’s importance as the North’s leading centre for music. North East firm Aptus Fit Out has undertaken the refurbishment. The full design team has included architects Howarth Litchfield and quantity surveyors Artis Consulting.