FEATURE: Newbridge Books | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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“My friend once described the place as a ‘sweet shop’ – very diverse, colourful and full of surprises.” This, according to producer Kuba Ryniewicz, is an pretty apt description of Newcastle’s Newbridge Bookshop. Established as an addition to the Newbridge Project in 2013 by founder Laura Cressner, it was originally intended to be more of a casual social space. Now, under Kuba’s watchful eye, the establishment has since moved in a more ‘bookish’ direction and flourished.

“My own vision for the shop was a little different from Laura’s – I focused more on the books than the social space, although I’ve tried not to remove that key social element from the venue. Our mission has been clear from the beginning: to elevate into another level so-called “Print Culture”. These are strange times that we live in – we have more new magazines and publishers than ever before, yet a significantly decreasing number of bookshops. The ones in particular decline are those of an independent nature, or places that focus on various aspect of culture- art, photography or architecture. What we are promoting is an independent press – we stock a range of rare titles and obscure magazines, 99% of which you can’t get anywhere else in the entire North East of England – that’s pretty unique!”

Just as their sister insitutions – Newbridge Project and Alphabetti Theatre – have been forced to close and re-locate this year, so, too, have Newbridge Books themselves.
“Our Building was due for demolition, so we have always had a phantom of temporality on our shoulders,” Explains Kuba. “We always knew our venue will not last for long, so we just have to milk it and make the most of it – and that’s exactly what we did.”

Luckily, their hard work and idiosyncratic nature did not pass unnoticed.

“When we were due to move out of NewBridge, Sarah Munro (Director of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art) offered us her full support. It was perfect timing, as we didn’t know how we would continue to stay in city centre – a location like ours is crucial for this sort of business.”

After seven years on Newbridge Street saw an uncertain closure in late 2016, the successful re-opening of the bookshop came during the Late Shows this May. Their new home? The reception area of BALTIC39, a vibrant artistic hub and extension of the BALTIC, located in Newcastle’s City Centre.

“It’s a definitely upgrade for us,” grins Kuba. “the space is warm and welcoming, plus it’s located on one of the best streets in the city centre. We are hoping to organise few exhibitions in our new place, but it’s early doors at this stage – we can’t reveal much more than that!”

Newbridge Books can be found at BALTIC39 on Highbridge, Newcastle, and will continue to work alongside the Newbridge Project, which is now located in Carliol House.

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