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Visits to museums and galleries up in North East

An exhibition at the Great North Museum in Newcastle. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

New figures published today show that visits to cultural centres, including museums and galleries, are increasing in the North East.

The Government’s Taking Part survey measures cultural participation across the UK.

In the North East, the number of adults actively engaging in the arts has risen from 70.2% to 75.6% since 2005/06.

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Full Report: Newcastle City Hall saved

One of the North East's most popular and historic music venues has been saved from closure, it has been confirmed today.

There will also be new investment in Newcastle's City Hall to protect its future.

The city council leader confirmed what we reported last night: that the trust which runs the city's main theatre will take it over.

Watch the full report from Ben Chapman below.

News welcomed that the City Hall will be saved

The City Hall, which once hosted the Beatles and Buddy Holly, had been threatened with closure due to budget cuts.

In future the City Hall will be managed by the trust that runs the city's Theatre Royal.

Those who campaigned to save it, like Hazel Plater from the North East Music History Group, have welcomed the announcement, as long as the City Hall remains a music venue.

Council leader: City Hall has 'bright future'

The leader of Newcastle City Council has confirmed to ITV News that the historic music venue, the City Hall, is safe from closure. Nick Forbes said that a partnership with the Theatre Royal would give it "a bright future."

He also said there would be investment in the venues catering facilities to help it pay its way in the years to come.

The venue had been threatened with closure due to council budgets cuts, and plans to close the City Pool, which is in the same building.

13,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be saved, as a vital part of the city's musical and cultural heritage.

Mr Forbes praised the North East Music History society for working with the council to save the venue.

"I’m really pleased to confirm that there are no plans to close the City Hall. In fact what we’re doing is we’re working closely with the Theatre Royal on a new arrangement, so that it can have a long future.

The aim is to make the City Hall stand on its own two feet, and that includes some internal works to improve the catering facilities, extend the café area so it can generate more revenue income."

– Nick Forbes, Newcastle City Council leader

Newcastle City Hall saved from closure

by Ben Chapman, Business Correspondent

Newcastle's historic music venue, the City Hall, has been saved from closure. The City Council has only confirmed that it is 'in talks' with the Theatre Royal Trust about the possibility of taking over the management of the venue.

But I understand proposals will be put to councillors tomorrow that will confirm its future.

Around 13,000 people signed a petition calling for the venue to be saved from council budget cuts. The group behind that campaign has "tentatively" welcomed the development, but wants further guarantees from the council.

"We would like a firm guarantee that live music programming will form the major part of Newcastle City Hall's contribution to the city's cultural life. We would also like to see staff from the City Hall given a guarantee of continuing employment."

– North East Music History spokesman

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Statement from Newcastle City Council on the future of City Hall

Newcastle City Council have released the following statement in response to reports that Newcastle's City Hall, which had been under fear of closure, is safe and that it has a new owner.

"We can confirm that we have been in discussions with the Theatre Royal Trust with a view to the theatre taking over the management of the City Hall.

Conversations are still at an early stage and a lot more work has yet to be done but we remain optimistic about a positive outcome.”

– Statement from Newcastle City Council

City Hall could be saved

There are reports that Newcastle's City Hall, which had been under fear of closure, is safe and that it has a new owner.

It is understood that the Theatre Royal has struck a deal with the music venue in the city and an official announcement on the development is expected tomorrow.

Neither the Theatre Royal nor Newcastle City Council would comment tonight.

More details on that story to follow.

Stunning picture of St Mary’s Light Show

by Phillipa Tomson
St Mary's Light Show
St Mary's Light Show Credit: Alison Leddy

This glorious illumination of the North East coastline is taking place over the next few evenings. Global Rainbow is being projected from St Mary’s Lighthouse on North Tyneside. It’s marking the start of what organisers say will be a ground breaking year for the region's art and culture.

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