Help Us Fix The Old Courts

by [email protected] in Wigan, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

Total raised £6,558

Gift Aid
+ est. £605.50
£100,000 target 2 days left
6% 236 supporters
This project will only be funded if at least £100,000 is pledged by 22nd May 2024 at 7:02pm

We desperately need help to fix the structural damage and re-open the Grand Vault and Theatre at The Old Courts. We can't wait any longer.

by [email protected] in Wigan, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom


The Situation

The Old Courts building requires an urgent repair carrying out to get our music venue and theatre back open for gigs and performances. In 2023 we discovered catastrophic structural damage in our venue which we later found out was caused by construction work (during our most recent refurb to remove a safe) carried out by a third party. Since then our music venue, The Grand Vault and our Theatre have been closed awaiting repair work.

This is just a little insight in to the damage (there's much more and worse).


The Insurance Situation

Despite the fact that we were fully insured, our insurers deemed the damage to be caused by negligent practise on the part of the contractor as opposed to accidental damage. This means that we are having to pursue the construction company in court and have not yet received a single penny towards the repair work. Since the discovery of the damage, we have incurred significant financial losses of earnings. We’ve managed to survive this far but we need to take action now to try and get our venues repaired. Although we’re hopeful that the claim will be successful, it isn’t guaranteed, nor is the length of time it will take.

We Need Help

Aside from the fact that we are being denied the thing we love the most – bringing amazing shows and artists to Wigan and giving a platform to musicians and performers based here, as an organisation without the most significant levels of income we receive from live performances it’s no longer sustainable.


Over the years our venue has served as a hub for creativity, entertainment and community engagement. We need to save and re-instate the venue to once again provide memorable, valuable nights of culture for Wigan and to protect the future of The Old Courts for generations to come.

A Bit About What We Do and What We LOVE...

Since The Old Courts was founded in 2014 as a not for profit organisation (meaning every penny is reinvested into the arts, community and Wigan), we have hosted some incredible artists in The Grand Vault and Theatre. We’ve always done everything we can to help drive the Wigan music and arts scene forward and promote our town as a stop-off for bigger and bigger touring artists.


Who Has Performed at The Old Courts? 

We’ve been blessed to be around at a time when our borough is producing incredible bands who are having national and international success. We’re proud to have hosted The Lathums, Lottery Winners, Stanleys and all their contemporaries who are smashing it of late. In addition we have helped raise the profile in Wigan welcoming The Sugar Hill Gang, Stereo MCs, Red Rum Club, Wheatus, Bill Ryder-Jones, Roachford, Badly Drawn Boy, Dave McCabe, Ian Skelly, Bad Manners, John Power, Space, China Crisis, Republica, Eddi Reader, Peggy Seeger, Hue & Cry, Judge Jules, Graeme Park, Rowetta, Bez, Aziz Ibrahim, Steve Cradock, Wolfgang Flur, Don Letts and so so many more.


In Our Theatre

We have hosted some amazing theatre shows and events including Sir Ian McKellen, John Cooper Clarke, Shaun Ryder, Victoria Melody, Kid Carpet, Bouncers, Ad Infinitum and countless other great artists. We have hosted a successful pantomime, giving away 1000s of tickets each year to families who might not be able to afford to attend otherwise and during covid we toured the panto on the back of a truck around Wigan to reach you in the only way we could when people needed something to lift their spirits. We have placed artists in schools and colleges for free and have hosted many free wrap-around workshops and events for our audiences. We want to get back to doing all of this again. We miss it and we miss you!


Everything we have done over the last ten years has been geared towards promoting culture in Wigan for everyone but now we really need YOUR help.


We're More Than A Bar...

Aside from the amazing talent we have brought to our stages we have been there for our community. We have given away 7800 sessions of free space for community groups to run their groups and workshops as well as many that are heavily discounted. Currently we are home to: Wigan Autistic Theatre Company, Directions for Men, Age UK’s Over 50 Jammers, a Youth Choir and an Abstinence Group. Behind the scenes, we also offer support and advice for people with substance and alcohol problems and have helped many people turn their lives around. We are also still to this day making calls to residents who are isolated and lonely. Our door is always open to our community who walk through our doors.

In the last 10 years :

  • 7236 events
  • 826,551 audiences and participants
  • 43,416 artists paid 
  • 5220 days of free space give to artists to rehearse or develop work
  • 2543 artists supported with advice or training
  • Programmed many events for partners including Wigan Prides and Rotary Club Community Day
  • Since Covid we have made thousands of phone calls to isolated residents - this is still continuing to this day


Now we really need your help! We can’t go on much longer with our main sources of income out of action. We miss performances and we miss our audiences so we are asking the whole of Wigan, and beyond to get behind us. When we started a music venue and arts centre in Wigan people thought we were mad! It certainly has been a massive rollercoaster and whilst it has always been difficult there have been thousands of moments of joy. The past 12 months though have been horrendous but our team has kept going because they all believe in what we are trying to achieve.

The Shortfall...

We are trying to raise £100,000 to contribute towards fixing our venues to get the doors back open again, this is the amount we are short by to reopen safely. Whilst the claim is progressing, and we’ve been advised on what is likely to happen, nothing is guaranteed. We need the venues re-opened by September which means the work needs to be started in the next couple of months. We’re doing this on an ‘all or nothing’ basis as this is the final amount we need to contribute towards fixing the venues and getting the doors re-opened. Without the venues fixed, we will have no option other than to remain and try to navigate our way through this unmanageable situation.

We are so much more than a venue to people; we are for the people. A hub of creativity and community spirit.  

For those who are unaware, the damage is limited to the Grand Vault and Theatre venues and our Court Room has remained unaffected and has continued to deliver commercial bookings such as parties and conferences. If you can’t donate, please consider booking our Court Room for your next event as the income will massively help us whilst we navigate this difficult period. 


Team OC x


What happens if the £100,000 is not reached? 

The donations will all be refunded to the donors and the rewards will not be distributed/ honoured.

Is my wedding/party affected by this? 

No, we have reached out to all our venue hirers already. These take place in our Victorian Courtroom which is unaffected by the damage to the Theatre and Grand Vault. We are committed to ensuring all bookings will proceed as they have done since the damage was discovered.  

When will the Grand Vault and Theatre reopen? 

If we are successful in raising the £100,000 contribution in the next 4 weeks, we aim to get the work started as soon as possible and will be ready to welcome guests back in September/ October 2024, ready for our 10-year Birthday Bash Gig on 5th October and relaunch a programme of events you’ve been missing from us.  

What happens if you're paid out by the insurance/ the legal case?  

As we’ve explained, seeing the claim through to completion is very risky and there’s no guarantees. That said, despite the legal and professional costs that we are incurring, we are determined to keep trading to see it through to completion. 

We recognise the affect our closure has had on the wider night-time economy, and we need a thriving night-time economy in Wigan to survive long term. Therefore, if we do get paid out by the insurance/ legal case and we are in a position where we have surplus funds, we will set up a fund to support local musicians, artists and venues within our night-time economy. We will put together a panel with industry professionals to review applications and distribute the funds fairly to where they are needed most. 




This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

The Lathums signed record raffle! 1 x raffle entry

1 x entry in to a raffle to win a signed album record by The Lathums.

£1 or more

Sealed bid to be the named sponsor of Grand Vault

Place a sealed bid to become the sole sponsor and new name of the Grand Vault for 12 months 1/10/2024 - 1/10/2025. It could be a personal name or a business name, for example ' The Tom Jones Grand Vault' or 'The Aviva Grand Vault'. After pledging £1 we will send you an email with instructions so you can place your sealed bid to become the main sponsor and named right of the Grand Vault. The winner will go to the highest bid but T&C's apply.

£1 or more

Sealed bid to be the named sponsor of the Theatre

Place a sealed bid to become the sole sponsor and new name of the Theatre for 12 months 1/10/2024 - 1/10/2025. It could be a personal name or a business name, for example ' The Tom Jones Theatre' or 'The Aviva Theatre'. After pledging £1 we will send you an email with instructions so you can place your sealed bid to become the main sponsor and named right of the Theatre. The winner will go to the highest bid but T&C's apply.

£3 or more

1 x Raffle ticket to win a £100 Bailiff Bar Tab

This reward enters you in to a draw to win a £100 bar tab to spend in the Bailiff Bar.

£5 or more

Raffle for 4 tickets to a re-launch gig & £100 tab

This enters you in to our raffle to win 4 x tickets to the re-launch all dayer 10th Birthday Bash Gig on either October 5th or 6th 2024 as well as a £100 bar voucher for you and your friends.

£6 or more

1 x Raffle ticket to win a stay in Secret Garden

1 x entry in to a raffle to win an overnight stay at Secret Garden Glamping. The winner will receive a voucher and will get a selection of dates to choose from before they go to the general public. Secret Garden Glamping is fully booked for 2 years but you'll be able to stay this year for a night! As seen on Dragon's Den. It's a money cant buy prize! Most units sleep up to 4 people. Dates are subject to availability.

£10 or more

1 x raffle ticket to win a Tallula Kaftan

We are raffling off a stunning handmade silver or gold sequin kaftan by Tallula Vintage. This reward is for 1 entry in to the draw to win this fabulous prize.

£10 or more

1 x raffle ticket to win 2 x Save The Rave Tickets

This reward is for one entry in to a raffle to win 2 x tickets for Save The Rave 90s Festival in Southport on 8th June. Thanks to our patron Graeme Park. The festival will be ace! Look at the line up: Graeme Park, N-Trance, K-Klass, Ultrabeat, Eddie Halliwell, SecondCity, Phats and Small to name a few!!!

£10 or more

34 of 100 claimed

The Lathums Official After Show Party 19.7.2024

Join The Lathums for their official after show party in the Bailiff Bar on 19.7.2024. Tickets are extremely limited. Over 18s only. 10.30pm onwards.

£15 or more

2 of 100 claimed

1 x Ticket to Bailiff Bank Holiday Fundraiser Fest

1 x ticket for the Bailiff Bank Holiday Fundraiser Festival on Sunday 26th May. A day packed full of talented musicians including Rik Jones, Andy Stonier, Neighbour Next Door, Josh Robinson, Sarah Hardman, John Anderton, Jan Hough and many more TBC. For more than one ticket please buy multiples of this reward so that capacity is correct. One donation = one ticket.

£20 or more

26 of 40 claimed

Old Courts Limited Edition Prints

A print of The Old Courts building in pink by artist Sophie Heywood or an orange abstract print designed by Zak Bretherton. Includes P&P

£20 or more

6 of 300 claimed

1 ticket to the re-launch gig - FRIDAY NIGHT OACES

1 x ticket to the re-launch Friday Night gig in the Grand Vault 7pm Friday 4th October 2024. We're also celebrating 10 years since our first gig! We're delighted to welcome Oaces back to the Grand Vault plus support from the mega Underclass, CasinoClub and Danny Fallows. It'll be a great night. One donation = 1 ticket. If you want more than one ticket, please repeat the process.

£35 or more

3 of 300 claimed

1 ticket to the re-launch gig - SATURDAY ALL-DAYER

1 x ticket to the re-launch all-dayer gig in the Grand Vault on Saturday 5th October 2024 12pm - 12am. 12 full hours!! We're also celebrating 10 years since our first ever gig! So far we have the following artists confirmed: Dead Shores, Dirty Circus, Mark Peters, plus DJ's. More acts TBC. One donation = 1 ticket. If you want more than one ticket, please repeat the process.

£40 or more

Wigan Musicians Mural T-shirt

A t-shirt featuring some of Wigan's amazing talented musicians and poets. Visitors to the Grand Vault will recognise this design by Pete Kennedy as it is plastered on our wall in the bar area.

£50 or more

2 of 50 claimed

Behind the Scenes Tour for 2 people

A behind the scenes tour for 2 people to look into the cells, cellars and Court Room, includes tea and coffee and a picture on Old Smoky! Tours will take place throughout the day of Saturday 15th June.

£150 or more

10 of 100 claimed

Name/ Dedication Plaque on our wall

Have your name or a dedication to a loved one on a plaque, on our wall in the entrance of the Grand Vault.

£150 or more

0 of 150 claimed

Name a Theatre Seat

Name a seat in our theatre. Have your name added one of our theatre seats.

£300 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Party in the Holding Cell for 20 people on 24.5.24

A party in the Holding Cell (a private room in the Bailiff Bar) for you and 20 of your friends. Includes a prosecco drinks reception. Must be taken in 12 months, subject to availability.

£1,000 or more

0 of 5 claimed

A Party in the Court Room for 80- 100 people

A party in the Court Room for 80-100 guests. Includes table cloths and chair covers. Prosecco drinks reception. Needs to be taken in 2024 and is subject to availability.

£3,000 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Package of 6 x Conference Full Day Hires

This reward allows your company to use our Court Room for 6 full days worth of conferences/ meeting space or team building. Can be taken in blocks or as individual days over the next 12 months. Tea and coffee is included.

£6,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Sole Sponsor of the Bailiff Bar Stage

Sole sponsor of the Bailiff Bar Stage for 12 months. Logo and or/ name to be used in marketing materials and on the stage in a Bailiff branded plaque. For more information on this please contact [email protected]

£250 or more

1 of 1 claimed

1 x Gold Springbok from Springbok

An original gold springbok which was part of the decor in Springbok on King Street in the early naughties! An iconic piece of history for all those who loved a night out back in the day. They are now technically vintage as they're over 20 years old so they do have wear and tear to the paint. Would need collecting from The Old Courts.

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