Major investment to see Docks Beers launch new music, comedy and events venue

One year after opening its doors, Docks Beers has announced that the new venue above the Grimsby brewery and taproom will be unveiled in January 2020 and will be known as the ‘Docks Academy’.

The brewers have also launched a website: www.docksacademy.com and social media channels using the handle @docksacademy. The first acts will be announced on these platforms in the coming days.

Having secured funding from the Key Fund to convert the vacant first floor of the King Edward Street church, major works can commence in November to transform the space.

Brewery Director Will Douglas said: “This is the beginning of an exciting chapter for Docks Beers and the first floor of our fantastic building.

“It has taken us some time to put the finance and plans together, but now we have the green light. We want to offer a diverse programme including live music, theatre, comedy, dance, lectures, workshops and exhibitions.

“We aim to bring big artists and acts to Grimsby and we are already booking in some exciting names for 2020. We have our work cut out for us, but the venue should have its premiere event early next year.

“It is also a significant step for our business in that we will create more jobs and associate the Docks Beers brand with great culture and performance. We are grateful to the Key Fund who are investing in us because of the scheme’s social impact. They could see that the Docks Academy will increase our community’s access to culture and bring high calibre performers from across the arts to our area.

“Over the last 12 months we have tried to get people together in different ways: the Docks Rideout, drawing workshops and music and drama have been initiatives in the brewing space. These were just dress rehearsals for what we are capable of upstairs. As well as putting on live music and comedy we’re keen to use the space to explore a programme of participation in and attendance at cultural activities for people with mental health issues, and when we are not using the space to stage events we would like to make it available for use by organisations helping vulnerable groups.”

Brewery Director Shahram Shadan will oversee the works, “The first floor of the Church is breathtaking even in its dilapidated state. Its vaulted ceilings and arched windows create a dramatic space with great acoustics which is begging to be turned into a performance venue. The building has been closed to the public for the best part of sixty years so we are really privileged to be able to bring a heritage asset like this back to life.

“In addition to a stage, there will be another bar, toilet block and green room facilities. We expect to have a capacity of 200 seated or 300 standing. As well as arts and culture, we will be able to offer conference facilities and hire for business and private functions.”

Some of the funding behind the project comes from the Key Fund, a team who have helped the brewers access the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF) with one third as grant.

This fund has been secured from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Chris Colwell, from Key Fund commented: “We’re delighted to be working with Docks Beers. The Key Fund remove barriers to finance to help community and social enterprises to start-up, become sustainable, or grow.

“It’s not just about the money. It’s also about providing the right kind of support to help the project have the best possible chance of success. Our investees have one crucial thing in common – the ambition to build and strengthen local communities and deliver social impact.

“We looked at the Docks Academy and felt it had clear vision to deliver social impact in an area that needed it. The venue will no doubt be a valuable addition to the North East Lincolnshire cultural scene and will increase the access to culture in this area, strengthening the community it serves. We believe in the power of people to find solutions to the challenges facing their communities – Docks Academy looks well set to achieve just that.”