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Whitley Bay Playhouse

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Joined 2010-04-12

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Always good to “discover” a new venue and on Friday I paid my first visit, certainly since it’s 2009 re-vamp, to Whitley Bay’s Playhouse. I can remember it from days gone, tucked away behind the Spanish City and may have been taken/dragged to see some summer show as a kid, but this was my first, serious music date of which it’s been attracting quite a few recently.

From the outside, coming in from the adequately sized, free car-park adjacent, there’s a smart, modern glass fa├žade leading into a not huge, but welcoming bar/foyer. Mind the security check on entering with any sort of bag though, the guys are thorough but not heavy handed - just remember they’re doing their job for your safety.

Entrance to the hall is by two corridors either side of the foyer, the venue seats 638, quite comfortably. The seats are new, folding, comfortable and with loads of leg-room and very good accessibility. The hall itself is narrower than say Durham’s Gala, but longer and steeper banked seating which allows very good visibility - even when someone is holding up their camera-phone. This seems to be tolerated by the venue, but NOT flash photography. The hall seems to be from the original art-deco theatre, so is high and the sound is clear and warm. The stage is raised and of a decent size (9m across?) and well lit, though it looks by old mercury lamps rather than LEDs, so warm for the bands.

Overall, even allowing it was King King I went to see, a very good venue; well-staffed, comfortable, excellent sound and has that atmosphere that totally new venues like The Gala and The Arc haven’t yet achieved; no wonder they’re nicking bands who’d normally head to Sage 2. Makes Tommy Emmanuel; Blues Band;  Little Steven & Joanne Shaw Taylor tempting prospects.

     

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