Two graduates from the University of Sunderland have made a film about two of the city’s most famous – and sometimes infamous – nightclubs.

The documentary is about the Blue Monkey nightclub and the New Monkey that followed it.

The film, entitled Two Monkeys, is by digital film production graduates Rob Kilburn and Lewis Dodds.

Two Monkeys, already a hit online with over 50,000 views, will be shown at a special screening on Wednesday, September 18th at the University of Sunderland.

The Blue Monkey was housed in an old bingo hall on Bedford Street. The building has since been demolished and the new Empire Cinema now stands on the site.

During the 90s, the Blue Monkey was beloved of ravers and it specialised in playing a style of Spanish techno called Makina, which had an enthusiastic following in the north east.

A fire, however, led to the Blue Monkey burning to the ground.

In 1999, there were efforts to resurrect the club in the form of the New Monkey. Local residents objected to these plans, fearing their lives would be marred by loud late-night music and anti-social behaviour.

But the entrepreneurs resubmitted their plans, saying the club would be a members-only venue that just served soft drinks.

The New Monkey opened in the old Plaza Bingo Hall in Pallion, but it too had to close in 2006 following a raid on the premises by 100 police officers. Drugs were seized, arrests were made, and some managers and staff had their homes searched.

Rob, 25, from Seaburn, said, “This turned out to be quite a complex project, but we are delighted with the result and have had some really positive feedback.”

“The film has had more than 50,000 views online and we are looking forward to the screening at the university next month.”

Rob, who heard a great deal about both nightclubs while growing up in Sunderland, said, “They were the most talked about places; they reached beyond being just nightclubs. The music they were playing was quite wide-reaching.”

Rob and Lewis – who work under the name Tyne and Weird – now have a new project. They are making a documentary about the Northern League side West Auckland FC, which once managed to triumph over Juventus. The team also had a trophy mysteriously stolen in 1994, which is still missing.

They are hoping that this 15-minute feature will be released next month, enabling them to show it at film festivals.

The screening of Two Monkeys will take place at the University Cinema at St Peter’s Media Centre on Wednesday, September 18th, at 6.30 pm.

(Featured image courtesy of Simon Law from Flickr Creative Commons)





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