Express & Star

We explored a venue known as the 'heart of music and comedy in Stourbridge' - and it has some incredible history

The evolution of a venue can come down to a number of reasons, whether they be financial, environmental or societal.

The stage and performance area has space for 200 people

Katies Secret Garden in Stourbridge is one of those places that has evolved due to a mixture of all three reasons, as well as looking at what makes it work best.

The venue is located on the site of Katie Fitzgerald's, a venue which has been at the heart of music and comedy in Stourbridge for nearly 25 years, with events regularly taking place in the bar area of the pub on Enville Street.

It had been a presence on the site since the time of Waterloo, surviving through the Victorian Era and two world wars and undergoing three name changes from the Golden Lion to the Stourbridge Lion and its modern day name of Katie Fitzgerald's.

Katie's Secret Garden is exactly what it says on the tin

Owner Eddy Morton, who runs the pub with his wife Trina, said the change to a performance venue became a reality due to the Covid-19 pandemic and finding that the pub wasn't viable any more.

He said: "In the pandemic, we realised after the months of lockdown that we couldn't possibly reopen as a pub and we had been making plans to change our business model anyway.

"It was an ideal opportunity to transition from being a pub venue to being a dedicated music, comedy and theatre venue, somewhere where now we only open when we have ticketed events.

Eddy Morton shows the inside of the former staging area

"We will do things occasionally like open mics, but that's only very occasional and it's not something I really would invest in anymore."