Newcastle, and indeed the rest of the North East, is a hub of culture and home to some of the finest cultural venues that the UK has to offer.
Newcastle’s rich arts and hospitality scene is constantly developing and offering a range of incredible live performance, music, food, drink and art. Many of our local venues and cultural establishments are also run as hard working independent businesses, fuelled with love and passion for their craft.
Sadly, due to the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19, our wonderful venues now remain closed indefinitely, until the world can return to some sort of normalcy. Without being able to generate income from regular custom and sales, these independent venues are now at risk and may struggle to reopen without support from the community.
However, these organisations have put together different initiatives in a bid to help them get through this frankly quite awful time. Take a look to see how you can support some of the North East’s best cultural businesses to keep going;
The Tyne Theatre and Opera House;
The Tyne Theatre, based in the city centre on Westgate Road, has been a running Victorian theatre since 1867. The Grade | listed building has been lovingly restored and continues to run as a charitable trust, operated by a collection of devoted staff and volunteers.
The theatre offers a wide range of live theatre, including comedy, ballet, panto, concerts and traditional theatre. The venue is a favourite with stars such Sarah Millican, who has held many sold out performances at The Tyne Theatre in recent years. It’s also famously haunted by a mischief making ghost called Bob!
The theatre has been forced to reschedule and cancel performances due to the essential closure of the building, which means that the trust will suffer from a lack of income from ongoing shows and bar sales.
To aid the Tyne Theatre and Opera House you can purchase tickets for shows going ahead from later in the year, merchandise and can also donate directly to the charity. The theatre also has a Friends Club which will entitle you to a membership card, priority bookings and a free tour of the theatre. For more information, you can visit their website, here;
Ouseburn Farm is one of Newcastle’s most treasured organisations. In the heart of Ouseburn valley this little farm provides organic farming, education, skill building, volunteer opportunities and hands on experiences with their selection of farm animals. They also run as a charity, so they truly are a community based organisation.
This gorgeous green space within the city works to provide enrichment and vibrant experiences for people from all walks of life, within a welcoming and happy environment. The farm first originated in 1976 and has grown into a flourishing and wholesome place.
To support their cause and help keep the farm running, you can sponsor an animal, buy a bee on their art wall or make a direct donation, here;
Horticulture is one of Newcastle’s most recently opened establishments, specialising in an extensive cocktail list and a unique and ethically sourced menu of ‘modern British cuisine with international flavours, delivered in a relaxed social environment.’
After taking over premises on Market Lane, that used to be known as Paradiso, owner Mike Hesketh has put his heart and soul into creating a beautiful bar and restaurant, with gorgeous decor and expert staff. Specialising in events for over 10 years, it’s no surprise that Mike has put together one of the most impressive new venues in the city.
Horticulture have developed a generous Pay it Forward scheme, in which customers can purchase a voucher and receive another 50% of the amount for free to spent on food and drink.
To purchase a voucher and find out more about their incredible menu, you can visit their website, here;
Northern Stage have been developing local talent and theatre productions, as well as showcasing national and international performances in the North East since 1970. They have set the standard for theatres across the country in establishing and promoting accessible theatre for audiences, creators and performers from all different backgrounds.
The building houses three exciting different stages and offers magical theatre experiences for people of all ages. Northern Stage also operates as a charity and relies on donations from individuals and businesses to continue to run the theatre and also provide support and workshops for young people in the local area.
There are a number of different ways you can support the theatre, including purchasing tickets for future shows, signing up as a Member and giving a direct donation. For more information, visit their website, here;
The Cluny has been a driving force in providing a space for local and touring talent to perform within an independent music venue in Newcastle. Based in Ouseburn, The Cluny supports the local area in the regeneration and sustainment of the the Ouseburn area, which has become a thriving hive of artists, small local businesses and creatives.
The Cluny offers a range of gigs every week, as well as a friendly and comfortable bar and restaurant with great staff and a sociable atmosphere. They’re also a hub of excitement once the warm weather starts and customers affectionately make their way to Ouseburn to enjoy a pint in the sunshine.
They have merchandise and vouchers available which can be redeemed at the bar once they reopen. The vouchers make perfect gifts or can be bought preemptively for a celebration booze up once bars are allowed to open their doors again. To purchase vouchers and merch, you can visit their website, here;
Alphabetti is a wonderful independent theatre, small but full of character. You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of it before, as it’s one of Newcastle’s smaller cultural venues. However, Alphabetti is full to brim with local talent as well as warm and welcoming to touring productions.
The bar area is often open to enjoy whether or not you are there to see a show, and it even has its own photo cupboard and mini library. If you’re already a regular, you’ll know that Rex the staffy rules the roost at Alphabetti, and he’ll quite often welcome you with a waggy tail.
To support this excellent independent theatre, you can make a donation to help keep them going through the current situation, here;
Seven Stories museum specialises in children’s literature, and in providing an incredible space for children to read, learn and experience enchanting literature based events.
The National Centre for children’s books runs as a charity and is dedicated to celebrating the magic of children’s literature. Based in Ouseburn, the centre offers families and children a range of unique exhibitions, engaging storytellers, author readings, and an independent book shop.
To help them in their mission to continue to bring children’s reading to life, you can find out more about them and make a donation, here;
The People’s Theatre in Heaton is an exceptional cultural institution, championing non-professional theatre productions in the North East. First set up back in 1911, the organisation has been going for over 100 years and runs as a charity.
The theatre is home to a lovely foyer and bar area, as well as a 500 seat auditorium. The theatre is well known within Newcastle for showcasing first class am-dram performances as well as up and coming talent. It’s the heart of a community in the North East and is truly one of the UK’s cultural gems.
To make a donation or offer any other kind of support to this community organisation, you can visit their website, here;
Billy Bootleggers is the perfect independent haunt for anyone with a love for Americana style dive bars and live music. With a regular line up of lively bands and a bar stocked with home-brewed moonshine, this venue has been one of Newcastle City Centre’s most loved alternative venues since 2017.
Situated on Nelson Street, at one of the entrances to the Grainger Market, the bar has developed a reputation for live gigs and an American inspired menu.
As an independent venue, the bar needs support so that they can open again once social gatherings are allowed to go ahead, and bars and restaurants are allowed to open to the public again. So, they have set up a Crowdfunding campaign, offering to double your donation at the bar when it reopens. To make a donation and find out more, you can view their Crowdfunder page, here;
Gosforth Civic Theatre;
Gosforth Civic Theatre is an arts and events venue with a café and bar, based right next to Regent Centre. They are run by a charity named Liberdade Community Development Trust, who focus on working with people with autism and learning disabilities and helping them to get involved with the arts in their local community.
The theatre provides an inclusive space for theatre, events, cinema and music. They also offer a lot of classes and activities for families and anyone interested in the arts.
As they operate as a charity, their current closure deeply affects the organisation. The loss of ticket sales will meant that the theatre may struggle through this period. If you’d like to make a donation to Gosforth Civic Theatre, you can donate here;
The Tyneside Cinema has provided the North East with world class cinema from across the globe, with both old and new movies and art films since 1937, originally built as a news theatre.
The cinema is now ‘the North East’s leading specialised independent cinema and digital arts venue’ and operates as a charitable organisation. The gorgeous Grade || listed building is a cinema lovers haven and also offers a filmmaking program to help support creative potential.
The cinema usually welcomes over 500,000 customers each year, and without ticket and event sales it will be difficult for them keep the building running to be able to reopen. To support the Tyneside Cinema, you can make a donation or purchase a gift voucher on their website, here;
Newcastle’s Quayside is home to to the Live Theatre, a modern and unique venue with a great reputation for nurturing new talent and developing new writing.
It’s a fantastic theatre to experience new shows, both touring and developed here in the North East. It’s also perfectly situated to enjoy the art and architecture of the Quayside, and also has one of the nicest bars in the city centre, with a mixture of modern and countryside pub style interior.
To support the Live Theatre at this time, you can purchase merchandise and gift vouchers, join as a Friend and make a donation, here;
The Theatre Royal on Grey Street is one of Newcastle’s most well known theatres. It’s beautiful architecture helps it to stand out in the city centre, and it often welcomes large scale touring productions from the West End to the North East.
Loved by thousands of theatre goers each year, the Theatre Royal has been awarded with the North East’s Most Welcoming Theatre award four times since 2015. The stunning building truly brings the magic of theatre to life and has seen many stage legends perform there.
To support the theatre and help them to keep going while shows currently cannot go ahead, you can make a donation to the Theatre Royal, here;
Wylam Brewery is a stunning events venue, based inside the old Military Vehicle Museum in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park. The building has been restored to a beautiful space for live music and foodie events, as well as a tap room with numerous huge selection of beers to choose from, and a lovely outdoor area looking over the parks lake.
Wylam Brewery has become a favourite venue in the city for customers to enjoy a pint in the sun, or one of their fantastic Sunday dinners on a weekend. They have also pulled in live performers such as Trevor Nelson, regularly host incredible foodie events and is now also a popular wedding venue.
To support Wylam Brewery during this uncertain time until they can reopen, they do have an online store to purchase a selection if their different beers, here;
They have also put together an initiative so that supporters can buy NHS workers a pint, here;
The Sage is one of the Quayside’s most iconic buildings, and is well know internationally for providing world class acoustics and sound quality for live performances. The venue attracts performers from many different genres, including renown classical, jazz and folk artists.
The Sage also offers a range of high quality classes and workshops for the local community, to get as many people as possible involved in the creative process of learning and engaging in music. They’re particularly passionate about providing support for young musicians and hold a Young Musicians Programme, open for children aged 4-19, from all different backgrounds, who are interested in music and improving their skills.
Without being able to rely to income from ticket sales, The Sage needs support to be able to reopen and keep their incredible venue going. To help them to get through this period, they have set up a Coronavirus Resilience Fund that can be donated to via text message. To find out more you can view their website, here;
Tyne Bank Brewery & Tap Room;
The Tyne Bank Brewery is another excellent independent spot in Newcastle, based on Walker Road, near Hoults Yard. They celebrate everything craft, local, live music and niche events such as vinyl markets and DJ sets.
You may have even been lucky enough to attend one of their doggy socials which, just as they sound, invite their customers to bring along their four legged friends. Food, alcohol and pups? What a dream!
To help support this local brewery and super cool independent venue, you can still buy their beer online for delivery. To order, you can go to;
Or to find out more and get the latest updates, you can visit their website, here;
The Stand, Newcastle;
The Stand in Newcastle has become the go to venue in the city centre for nightly live comedy. The club hosts shows every week offering local established and up and coming comics, as well as giving a stage to touring comedians from across the globe. The Stand has given a platform to many local comedians who have gone on to become household names, and has also invited national live talent to perform for Geordie audiences since 2011.
The Stand does have two other venues based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but the club and their comedy circuit do run as an independent business. Without sales from tickets and ongoing shows, the venue will struggle get back on its feet without support from fans of the hilarious hive that allows amateur and more well known talent to flourish.
To keep spirits high and momentum going, The Stands venue based in Edinburgh has been hosting free online comedy shows every Saturday night, which you can view via their Facebook page and YouTube. To Help support The Stand to keep going, you can purchase gift vouchers which can be given as gifts or redeemed for future performances, here;
Or, if you’d prefer to give a donation, you can donate to the venue, here;
Full Circle Brew Co.;
Full Circle Brew Co. is a fantastic recent addition to Newcastle’s Hoults Yard. The independent Brewery and tap room offers an impressive assortment of beers, brewed right there in their venue. They even describe themselves as a ‘craft beer haven’, and believe me, they’re not wrong!
The venue itself has a unique and relaxed atmosphere, and the bar is even glass-fronted so that customers can view the entire brewery as you sit back and enjoy a pint or a cocktail. The venue itself is quite new but sadly is being affected by the current essential closure to the public. However, Full Circle Brew Co. are still able to sell a great range of their beers online. They can even offer free delivery on orders over £30 to postcodes NE1-NE12 & NE25-NE30, or free delivery on orders over £70 to anywhere else in mainland UK. To order, you can view their website, here;
The Little Buildings;
The Little Buildings is a small and intimate music venue, based on Stepney Bank in Ouseburn. After having to relocate from their original premises, the venue has found a new home and only recently reopened in March, but sadly had to close shortly afterwards due to the Governments advise amidst current pandemic.
The 50 person capacity venue is run by a father and son team who are dedicated to providing an intimate music venue for live bands and grassroots music lovers in the heart of Newcastle. They have put a lot of work into their brand new venue, but are now faced with uncertainty for their future. If you’d like to support The Little Buildings, they are currently selling original recordings of previous performances that they have hosted. To purchase a track from a selection of music and donate to the venue, you can go to their crowdfunder page, here;
The information on all of these links are subject to change depending on the current situation regarding Covid-19 and the Governments advice.
Please only donate financially to any of these venues if you can afford to. You can show support to them for free, by either sharing their posts on social media, sharing this blog post, or by sending them a message to let them know you’re excited to visit them again once this situation has passed.
If you work for a cultural venue that would like to be included in this list then please get in touch.