Global entertainment company signs 25-year contract to run Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Wolverhampton Civic Hall is now set to be a prominent part of the city for the next 25 years after a major entertainment company officially signed a contract to run the iconic venue.
It comes after long delays in reopening the historic city centre building, which closed in 2015 for a revamp that has quadrupled in cost to around £40 million.
Wolverhampton Council has faced heavy criticism for the delays in reopening the hall – with one senior councillor saying "it took less time to build the Channel Tunnel".
But the authority and entertainment firm AEG Presents have now agreed a 25-year deal to run the city’s Civic Hall.
AEG Presents, the live-entertainment division of AEG, is scheduled to take up occupation of the halls in late April 2022 and then start the internal fit-out to the front-of-house bars, kitchen and sound and lights systems.
The first artists to perform at the halls are expected to be announced later this year with the venue set to reopen in autumn 2022.
Steve Homer, AEG Presents CEO, said: “We’re delighted to get this important milestone over the line. This is a long-term commitment and 25-year deal by AEG which is going to be a game-changer for the future of the Civic Hall and the city.
“We are taking on a hugely important national venue and asset which has massive potential. We believe in it hugely and we believe in this city which is why we are investing and bringing the very best acts to this world-famous stage.
“Wolverhampton Council’s investment to safeguard the Civic Hall for future generations and bring the building back to life was key to our investment decisions. We now have a fantastic, relatively blank canvas to work on and will be setting about investing on the inside of the building to create a premium AEG customer experience. We can’t wait to get on with the job, get shows on sale and get open.”
Councillor Stephen Simkins, deputy leader of the council, said: “The council has demonstrated bold and ambitious thinking to take this very challenging project on and thanks to that we have secured a 25-year commitment from a world-leading operator – a real vote of confidence in Wolverhampton - and it won’t cost the taxpayer a penny.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to work with the AEG Presents team to relight our Civic Hall and will continue to work closely with them. We’re putting in investment in the public space outside the building so it’s fantastic for visitors and progressing plans to bring a premier hotel brand to the heart of the city as part of our Westside re-phasing.
“AEG Presents’ passion for the iconic halls and ambition for the future matches our own and this partnership will not only deliver an outstanding venue with top-class entertainment for generations to come – it will be a keystone of our wider plans to reimagine the city centre, to create local jobs and grow vital local businesses. Never has this been more needed than now, as we plot a path out of the pandemic.”
AEG Presents own and operate over 40 venues including the iconic Eventim Apollo London, indigo at The O2 and the recently announced new live music venue at Olympia London.
They will be supported by ASM Global, the world’s leading venue operator to deliver a first-class customer experience in the venue including sales, marketing, food and beverage and other services.
The works currently being undertaken by Willmott Dixon Interiors inside the halls will see the height above the stage to the rear of the Civic Hall increased to attract bigger and better shows.
Overall, there will be more comfortable seats, more bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities to give visitors an improved experience, lift access to new balconies, better access arrangements for disabled visitors, a greater number of accessible viewing points and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air conditioning system.