New management wants to bring back Wigan ballroom's heyday

Bradley Smith and John Norcott
Bradley Smith and John Norcott

The new management at one of Wigan’s best-known leisure venues have spoken of their desire to bring back the place’s glory days

John Norcott and Bradley Smith, who organise Wigan’s Got Talent and run not-for-profit community group Has Talent CIC, have been put in charge of the iconic Monaco Ballroom in Hindley.

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The Atherton Road venue has a storied history and continues to stage everything from Northern Soul nights to pro wrestling to one-off visits by comedians and music acts.

However, in recent years, under the guise of The Rose Club, some of the more high-profile arts events in the borough have gone elsewhere and John, who is a wedding entertainer as well as an entrepreneur, wants to return it to the top of the local cultural tree.

He said: “We’ve got a refurbishment going on at the moment and we are filling the diary to get some really quality acts on.

“It’s one of the first venues I performed at as a singer, I was on stage there back in 1997. I wanted to see it come back to what it was.

“So many people have great memories of coming to various evenings here but it’s a shame because over the past decade it has drifted off. However, the owner is willing to invest and get it back on the map.

“In this economic climate people don’t have expendable income to sit in a pub all day, but they will save up and go to an event.

“We’re also getting it rebranded, going away from The Rose Club and back to the Monaco.”

John was invited to take on the top role after the venue owners were impressed by the professionalism of an event he did there with his wedding entertainment business Ntertain.

He brought in Bradley, who is working with him on the search for new local performers, as assistant manager and the final of Wigan’s Got Talent will take place in Hindley.

The bar is currently being worked on and high-profile gigs on the calendar include the Bay City Rollers, Showaddywaddy and a top Take That tribute.

However, John has also introduced a regular quiz and wants to make it a local hub as well, with Hindley residents coming through the doors regularly. It is also hoped the talent show will introduce it to a younger audience who associate it with nostalgia nights.