THE ADDITION of a new 500-capacity venue and a greater emphasis on live events is delivering results at Preston’s Guild Hall complex.
In danger of being boarded-up in 2014, the then two-theatre building was saved by local businessman Simon Rigby and his Villa Group, which bought it for £1 from the city council.
It has since undergone extensive redevelopment, including the addition of two restaurants, a bar and coffee shop.
In December the new events space LiVe opened and has already hosted shows with White Lies, The Strypes and Lee Scratch Perry – fitting in alongside the Guild Hall’s Grand Hall (2,000) and Charter Theatre (700).
“Preston’s central location means we’re ideal for touring acts with the M6 and five major junctions on our doorstep,” head of operations Richard Simkin tells LIVE UK.
“Our flexibility, facilities and size means we can cater for almost any type of event.”
This in conjunction with the city’s 32,000-strong student population has led to a rise in concerts, assisted by a partnership with venue management company VMS Live (see LIVE UK issue 205) and the appointment of head of programming Danny Morris.
As well as promoting concerts in-house the venue also works with promoters such as Live Nation Entertainment and SJM Concerts.
“The programme of events is hugely varied with over 100 shows and events before the New Year,” says Simkin.
Artistes playing the venue include Busted in the Grand Hall, G4 in the Charter Theatre and The Big Moon in LiVe.