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O2 Academy Leeds is a spectacular building situated at the site of the former Town and Country Club and in more recent years, Creation nightclub (2001-2004), Academy Music Group restored the Grade I listed building to its former glory as one of the City’s most historic music venues.
Originally the Coliseum building on Cookridge Street, the venue was opened in 1885 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. Designed by William Bakewell, in Gothic style, it featured an ornate stone frontage and a hall described as ‘one of the finest in the North of England’ (Kelly’s Directory – 1914).
In its early years, it was used for circus and Variety shows of the day, through to political meetings and religious gatherings. Changing hands between various theatre and property developers, the Coliseum converted to a cinema in 1938 and was renamed the Gaumont. It closed in March 1961 and re-opened as a Bingo Hall and Social club, through to use as a television studio in the 1980s until 1991.
From 1992 to 2000, it was home to the legendary Town and Country Club, playing host to many high profile acts including Blur, INXS, Mark Knopfler and The Stones Roses.
Following a £4.5 million refurbishment, the venue opened with an outstanding show by the most successful band from the City, Kaiser Chiefs on Wednesday 8th October 2008. Since opening, the venue has been an instant hit with artists and promoters and customers, all delighted the venue retains as many original features and grandeur of its former years by converting back to the theatre format, but adding up to the minute and facilities and production values.
Designed to the highest technical specification, the auditorium is theatre style and has a capacity of 2,300 with original brick features and exposed beams and perfectly combines its magnificent heritage with a modern development.
The venue also has a 400 capacity second room downstairs called ‘Underground’, an intimate club space, top of the range PA and lighting specification to host the perfect club events and pre and post bar trade.