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North Shields theatre targets national shows following major sound and lighting upgrade

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

The Exchange 1856 in North Shields is looking to attract big name artists and national shows to the area following a significant sound and lighting upgrade to its 450-capacity event space.

The new state-of-the-art sound and lighting system was designed and installed by one of the industry’s best known names, Jamie Moore and his company Nitelites, who has worked with world-leading events such as the Mouth of the Tyne Festival, BBC Proms, Great North Run and Sunderland’s International Airshow.

As well as 21 moving light heads, the new system includes a new plug-in-and-play digital sound system with the very latest headset microphones. It is part of a major seven-figure makeover of the entire building following the recent change of operator to local entrepreneur, Paul Stonebanks OBE and newly created company, The Exchange 1856.

This upgrade will enable The Exchange 1856 to compete with some of the UK’s best venues and stage much larger professional shows, as well as events such as business award ceremonies.

The plug-in-and-play equipment will also make it easier for local groups to put performances on, as they will no longer need to supply their own equipment.

Youngsters taking part in North Tyneside’s Rock School event, which showcases the talents of young musicians from schools across the Borough, were the lucky first acts to test out the new lighting and sound equipment at The Exchange 1856. Playing to a roaring, excited crowd the talented musicians were able to perform to their best abilities thanks to the high-quality acoustics and mood-enhancing lighting.

Stuart Egan, Managing Director at The Exchange 1856, said: “Coming from a technical background in theatre, I understand the importance of good acoustics and high-quality lighting for both the performers and the audience experience. Upgrading these systems, means we can now target much larger shows and attract different events such as live music bands, theatre stage shows, comedy performers and business conferences. We want to bring a wide range of cultural events to North Shields and put the area on the national cultural stage in more ways than one!”

In addition to the auditorium, every area of the historic Exchange building is being renovated and improved from the bar, restaurant and courtyard areas to the entrance foyer, restrooms, office spaces and Thomas Brown room, which celebrates the life of a local hero. This epic transformation is expected to be completed by the autumn.

The Exchange 1856’s current performance schedule includes Kewen & the Crosswalks (30 September), Halloween Spooktacular (28 October), East Coast Swing Band (18 November), Aladdin (14-24 December) and Marty Craggs’ Little Band Jam (30 December). To find out more or to book tickets please visit:


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