Independent venue owner and operator Electric Group (EG) said it will spend £1.5 million overhauling the former O2 Newcastle Academy (cap. 2050) ahead of its reopening as NX in October 2022.

Designed by architect Stuart Trett at Design At Source, in collaboration with EG CEO Dominic Madden, the plans for NX’s main room include creating a “more intimate gig experience” with the introduction of mezzanine platforms and staircases, four new bars, and access to a contained roof terrace. Work is scheduled to begin in March next year.

EG said sight lines for music fans will be improved to bring them closer to the NX’s main room stage, while the design and build will respect the architectural grandeur and heritage of the existing venue.

The live diary for NX is open and being overseen by EG head of music Mike Weller.

Madden said, “After many years in the planning, I’m delighted to announce our exciting vision for the refurbishment of the 02 Newcastle Academy, which of course has a seminal history and we have the important task of curating the next stage of the venue’s development.

“NX will be a state of the art 21st century independent music venue. Our vision is to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment of the venue, with a focus on making the main room a more intimate gig experience; both for the music fan and the artist. Our plans include the creation of new standing mezzanine staircases on either side of the main room, and with access to an intimate standing platform within the existing balcony and with bars and access to a contained roof terrace for music fans to use.

“Led by Mike Weller as head of music, we operate with an independent mindset, shaping an easy and collaborative culture for promoters to embrace NX with as few financial strings attached as possible.”

Formed in 2013, EG owns south London’s 1,500-capacity Electric Brixton and the 1,100-capacity SWX in Bristol. It is a joint venture between co-founders Madden and Jake Lewis of the Lewis Family, which own other businesses including retail chain River Island.