Manchester music venues Deaf Institute and Gorilla saved from closure

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The venues have hosted hundreds of shows from big names and emerging talents

Two Manchester music venues have been saved from closure after a deal was agreed with help from gig promoters and one of the city’s best-loved singers.

Mission Mars (MM), which runs Gorilla and The Deaf Institute, announced their closures on Thursday.

However, the sites have been bought by venue group Tokyo Industries (TI).

TI Founder Aaron Mellor said the group had put together “some great ideas” with SSD Concerts and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess “to help save both venues”.

Burgess was one of a number of big names who took to social media after the initial closure announcement was made, stating that the venues were “the lifeblood of Manchester’s vital network of venues”.

He tweeted that he and the new owners would be “doing all we can to help with the next chapter”.

In a joint statement, the two firms said terms had been agreed to save all jobs and continue operating the sites “in much the same way as they have done in the past”.

The TI founder said it was “vital venues like Gorilla and The Deaf Institute are kept alive, [as] the cultural fabric of our city centres depends venues like these”.

“Over the weekend, we have put together some great ideas with SSD Concerts and Tim Burgess to help save both venues and their existing operating style in a post-Covid world.

“We’re not so keen on this ‘new’ normal and want to keep the ‘old’ normal alive for when we all get through this.”

The Deaf Institute and Gorilla

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  • Housed in the Grade II-listed former home of the Manchester Deaf and Dumb Institute, which was built in 1878, the Deaf Institute in Grosvenor Street opened as a three-storey bar, cafe and 300-capacity venue in 2008.
  • In 2012, Gorilla took over a venue originally called The Green Room, created in the railway arches below Manchester’s Oxford Road Station, opening as a bar, restaurant and 600-capacity performance space.
  • Since opening, the two venues have hosted a huge number of shows, including some from acts who have since gone on to major success, including The 1975, Florence & The Machine, Sam Smith, Tame Impala and Childish Gambino.

SSD Concerts’ Steve Davis, who first promoted a Charlatans acoustic show at The Deaf Institute a decade ago, said it would be “an honour to work on the next chapter in their stories”.

MM chief executive Roy Ellis said the deal was “really great news for our teams and the music-loving people of Manchester”.

“The bad news announcement last week regarding the closure plans galvanised an unprecedented level of interest from passionate operators from across the region and even beyond.

“I’m extremely grateful that we’ve been able to find a new and appropriate new home for these amazing venues and people.”

The night-time economy advisor to Greater Manchester’s mayor, Sacha Lord, tweeted that it was “great news”.

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