Norwich venue Open to host big bands

A grade II listed building in the heart of Norwich is preparing to open its doors to big name bands to perform live for the city.

Open, at the junction between Bank Plain and London street, already have a thriving centre for young people, but as of March 9 they will be extending their events with an alcohol licence and live music.

Billy Lockett, featured on BBC Introduing for unsigned music, will play on the launch night of the new venture, as well as local act Lee Vann. Others confirmed for later in the year include The Milk, a hip-hop act from Essex described as 'the band you've been waiting for' and a Future Radio club night.

Late April will see Charlene Soraia, best known for her cover of 'where ever you will go' featured on the Twinnings tea advert, playing an intimate seated gig at the venue, with other acts to be revealed.

Sarah Mintey, Principal of Open, said: 'We've had bookings come in very quickly, 50 already, and with our capacity ranging from 200 to 1450, we are a highly flexible venue, right in the heart of the city.'

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There is a main room and a club room, to host large concerts and intimate gigs.

Rick Lennox has worked in London in various music roles, but has returned to his home town of Norwich as Open's live music events manager. He said: 'This new venue is very impressive and we are attracting both local and national acts to perform, as well as putting on club nights.'

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He expressed his wish to keep prices low to feed-back bar profits into funding the Open youth trust's projects, working with young people from all over Norfolk. Whether they are having problems with housing or self-confidence, help is available on a drop-in basis.

Ben Burt, Open's positive action manager, said: 'Whether you're into live music, art or sport, we have something for everyone here. From DJ workshops, to wall climbing, all our staff are diverse with different interests, and this really feeds into what we do here.

So our main focus is to keep youth focused and inspired.'

Mr Lennox added: 'We already have new year booked out for 2012. There is a real buzz about this place.'

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