Studio’s set to rock again

Daniel McCarte in the Studio
Daniel McCarte in the Studio

A STRUGGLING music venue that looked doomed is set to reopen as a vibrant student venue on Monday thanks to two town colleges.

The Studio, in Tower Street, Hartlepool, fell into voluntary liquidation in April after being hard-hit by the credit crunch.

The venue, which provided a stage for the town’s music talent and regularly hosted gigs, had suffered falling numbers and bosses had no option but to call in the administrators.

But Hartlepool College of Further Education and Cleveland College of Art and Design stepped in and agreed a deal to keep the former Baptist church going.

After a summer-long renovation, The Studio will open its doors again on Monday.

A “grand opening” is planned in the new year.

Daniel McCarte, the newly-appointed venue centre manager, said: “We’re all ready to go. It’s an exciting time.

“It’s a relief to finally get to this point, but we have actually done things in quite a short time and completely transformed the venue. I think people will be impressed by the changes we have made.

“It’s also quite emotional as we are saving a piece of Hartlepool history that means a lot to the town.

“Hopefully we can give it new life and go from strength to strength.”

The Studio, which was originally conceived in 1981 on the Headland, will be used by students during the day and be available to showcase local talent during the evening and at weekends, as well as attracting more high-profile bands.

Mr McCarte said the ethos of the re-branded venue is inclusion, with students and the local community asked to put forward ideas and get involved as much as possible.

He added: “We will be very interactive, working both with students and the community to make sure we provide what people want and that local people are involved.

“It is a student venue that will showcase talent from the colleges and will have student gigs and events, but we will also have public events that we hope will draw people in.

“There’ll be club nights with guest DJs from all different genres and walks of life, comedy nights, open mic nights, quiz nights and nights with no fuss, just good tunes, good drinks and great food.”

Three permanent staff jobs are being created to run the bar and catering, with those filling the roles being given extra training through the college.

Opportunities for sound engineers and DJ will also be created.