The Menagerie is now remembered as unpretentious, shabby Belfast nightlife at its best. A medley of musical and artistic tastes ranging from DJ sets to acoustic sessions, rock & punk to jazz & blues – soul, folk and everything else.
At its height the successful venture in live music and art played host to many special events including Andrew Weatherall and other high profile music brands.
I worked here as a final year undergrad student, and before close in 2015, I was responsible for contributing to the graphic design for promotional materials and developing in-house art direction.
In 2017 the opportunity rose to revisit the role this time as Events and Communications Manager / General Manager and lead a small, tightly nit team who revived an empty building back to its former glory, uniting the creative melting pot of artists, musicians and promoters all collaborating together for one common aim – to create unforgettable moments together.
My role at the menagerie as Events manager and General manager of the premises included a vast array of skills including my design and marketing skills, but also business and customer service skills I had acquired working in hospitality.
I was responsible for managing the social media accounts; creating dynamic and consistent content that increased audience interaction as well as driving traffic to the company website.
I managed relationships with external partners such as appointed Event promoters, Communications Agencies, Public Sector Bodies and other private sector business organisations while ensuring the smooth running of events.
I also was responsible for the everyday managing of the bar, including keeping a current liquor license, current entertainments license, negotiating supplier contracts, taking inventory and re-ordering supplies – managing budgets and setting goals.
If you weren’t aware or a part of the menagerie and its colourful spectacle visit the menagerie instagram to get stronger representation of the positive happenings in the basement of 130 university street. This is a good place to reflect on the momentum we had between 2017- 2020. The Menagerie is so much more than an empty building. Like all good and inviting live music venues and clubs, we were at the very crux of the night time culture in Belfast that felt at the time that was on the verge of splitting the chrysalis.
The menagerie website started with very humble tumblr beginnings.It has been through a few updates, but had always acted as a central marketing tool promoting the venue by compiling and archiving 4 years of weekends and events that have happened on-site whilst promoting scheduled events.
I was responsible for the design build and maintenance of the Menagerie website, publishing event content for web and marketing, including writing copy and editing for the web, ad-hoc promotional design and daily content management to keep subscribers up-to-date with schedule and program information.
Making visible the monthly events listings was important, as the marketing of events by both the promoters booking events and the club would ultimately would determine footfall on the night. We advertised through social media channels and printed posters but the main and most effective manner of advertising these events was work of mouth. The Monthly flyers continued a style created by onsite photos of events and and corners of the building creating an immersive, recognisable and inclusive community feel to engage those who had experienced past events, in an attempt to evoke the familiar.
As well as the staple club nights and the live music events, Menagerie hosted several events with drinks suppliers and marketing agencies including Jameson Ireland for their cocktail final in 2019 and a return visit from Bushmills Black Bush Stories including Oscar Woolley – Suki Tea, and Michael Morris candlemaker in 2018.