→  News  →  Stand Up for Sage Gateshead

Stand Up for Sage Gateshead

“I'm delighted to hear that Sage Gateshead has been successful in this bid. Sage One is a special room to play and I have some wonderful memories performing there. This new project should provide an even more dynamic live experience for both the artist and audience." - Sting

Sage Gateshead has been given the go-ahead for a bespoke concert hall seating system, which will enable the quick removal of seats to create a space for a standing audience, and the ability to be able to put them back in again at speed. This is part of a major project of capital works which has been made possible thanks to National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s capital programme.

The £2 million project will also allow the installation of a new seat mechanism (phase two), which has never been used anywhere else before, allowing the venue the flexibility to provide standing space on level one of their main hall – beyond the existing standing pit – as well as continuing to offer the option of a fully seated hall.

Once the seats are removed, the capacity of the hall will increase from a current maximum of 1650 to 2000 allowing the venue to add to its already diverse programme, including more indie, dance and Prom style performances. Read more.

Project Updates

19 December

On Monday 6 January 2020, the Concourse refurbishment work will begin. In the first phase, the Box Office will move from the East entrance to the West entrance.

There will be no disruption to your visit to Sage Gateshead, although you may notice the temporary boards and hear some extra noise – all of which will be kept to a minimum – as the construction team begin their work.

During this phase, customers can enter the building via the East and West entrances as usual and access to and from Sage Gateshead’s car park will remain unchanged. Tickets can still be booked via our Box Office in person or on the telephone.

16 December

The first phase of the overall capital project is due to start in January 2020. Our iconic concourse will be transformed in the New Year, making our music venue even more welcoming and enjoyable for visitors. The bars and Brasserie will be refurbished and a new private hire dining area will be created as well as pop-up retail stands. North East firm Aptus Fit Out will undertake the refurbishment. The full design team includes architects Howarth Litchfield and quantity surveyors Artis Consulting. Read more here. 



“I’m delighted to hear that Sage Gateshead has been successful in this bid. Sage One is a special room to play and I have some wonderful memories performing there. This new project should provide an even more dynamic live experience for both the artist and audience.”


Sam Fender

Sam Fender

“I’ve played some of the smaller rooms a couple of times but to think that Sage One will now offer standing room is amazing. Alongside the acoustics and bigger capacity, the seats out option will make Sage One a dream venue and even more artists will come to the toon.”

Paul Smith (Maximo Park)

Paul Smith (Maximo Park)

“The atmosphere is undoubtedly more lively when people aren’t sitting down, as we found out when we played without the seats. Other large venues simply don’t sound (or look) as good as Sage One, so it will be great to get a broader range of acts (and audiences) into this incredible venue.”

Smoove & Turrell

Smoove & Turrell

“We would be buzzing if the seats in Hall One could be removable as this would please all of our fans who have always expressed a preference to dance at our gigs!”

Click here to listen to a special message from Smoove & Turrell.

Ross Millard Futureheads

Ross Millard from The Futureheads

“Sage Gateshead is an amazing venue to perform in, but the option of playing a show to a standing audience would always be preferable for a band like ours. As a musician who has played live shows for almost 20 years, my experience is that for a lot of performers/bands, standing shows generate an energy and line of communication with the audience that you simply can’t achieve in a seated venue.”

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead says of the project:

“We know that musicians and audiences love making and hearing music in Sage Gateshead. In 15 short years, it has become a flagship music venue for the North and is internationally recognised. Since opening our doors in 2004, we have been privileged to welcome some of the world’s greatest musicians to our festivals and stages, as well as playing a part in nurturing and supporting the next generation of musicians and running a huge music education programme.

This capital work will help us to present and support an even wider range of musicians with events and festivals which reach an even wider audience, and will also benefits the wider community. Foster + Partners created an iconic building for Tyneside 15 years ago and we can’t wait to complete this work to take our already great facilities to a new level.”

Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England said:

“Our capital funding is all about helping organisations to develop the buildings and facilities they need to produce and present excellent work. I’m delighted that our funding will help Sage Gateshead to install a seating system that will allow it greater flexibility in its programme and to stage a broader variety of artists and events which will be enjoyed by both the local community and visitors.”

Watch as Sage One seats are removed for 6 Music Festival in 2015