Venue Spotlight: The Stables, Milton Keynes

Picking up our semi-regular Venue Spotlight series, we're shining a light on The Stables in Milton Keynes.

We spoke to Head of Producing and Programming, Alison Young, about the venue's past, future and their 40th Anniversary Gala concert in 2010...

See full listings for The Stables in Milton Keynes here.

Vital stats

  • The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LU
  • Jim Marshall Auditorium Capacity 398 seated and Stage 2 capacity 80 seated/120 standing.

When was the venue first established?

The venue started in 1970 in a former stable block owned by eminent jazz musicians John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. They established a charity named Wavendon Music All Plan, which continues to operate the building.

Has the venue gone through any major changes since it opened (location, renovation, style of music etc)?

Thanks to an award from the National Lottery via Arts Council England, the venue was rebuilt and enlarged with a subsequent development in 2007 to create Stage 2.

Which band that's played your venue has gone on to be the best known?

Amy Winehouse, Newton Faulkner, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Beverley Knight, Sufjan Stevens.

Which band that played your venue deserved/deserves to be better known than they are?

Cherry Ghost, Krystle Warren.

Do you host events besides gigs and clubnights? If so, let us know what kind of thing?

Our learning and participation department organises over 250 education events each year and the annual National Youth Music Camps (alumni include Thom Yorke, Guy Chambers, Dominic Miller, Tim Firth) We also produce the biennial IF: Milton Keynes International Festival.

If you could change one thing about the live music industry, what would it be?

Local and national planning laws to take into account the needs and existence of music venues across the country, especially when planning new housing and office development.

Has your venue ever been threatened with closure? If so, what could have been done to prevent it/support you?

Not yet!

What's been your proudest moment working at your venue?

Being a part of the planning team that delivered the 40th Anniversary Gala concert on 6th February 2010 featuring Paul O Grady, Victoria Wood, Maureen Lipman, Rod Argent, Prunella Scales and Timothy West, Alec, Jacqui and Emily Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, the concert going ahead despite the tragic death of Sir John Dankworth earlier that day.

What's the best show you've put on recently?

Turin Brakes (above image) on Tuesday 1st March 2016.

Any infamous stories related to your venue you can tell us?

We never kiss and tell!

Track The Stables here to keep up to date with all forthcoming events.
There is also an official website and a Facebook page.