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Back to standard opening times: Wednesday - Saturday plus any other days when we have events.

Host your own event!

Empty Shop is all about opportunity, you can use our HQ venue to host any number of creative or cultural events.

Find out more

// About us

Empty Shop CIC is a non profit arts organisation in the North East of England and based in Durham City. We deilver exhibitions & events, collaborate on projects and run a licenced cultural venue. Formed in 2008, Empty Shop is completely independent and unfunded by choice. more

// Upcoming Events

Paper Beat Scissors: European Tour 2014 + Support @ Empty Shop HQ
Sep 24 @ 7:30 pm


Following a superb intimate gig last year, we are delighted to welcome back Paper Beat Scissors on his european tour. He’ll be popping by for another night of captivating music with support from Little Alaska and more (TBC).
“Absolutely stunning… wonderful… startling and beautiful” 
Bob Harris, BBC Radio2

Tim Crabtree’s haunting voice burns at the centre of the Paper Beat Scissors sound with an honesty and rawness that skirts discomfort. The Paper Beat Scissors live show is an intense and intimate experience – solo finger-picked laments are paired with live loops and a haunting voice that slips into the music, then darts back out to pull the listener in. 

The relocated-Brit began the project following a move to Canada’s East Coast and soon caught the attention of his adoptive home, recording the highly-acclaimed self-titled debut with Michael Feuerstack (Snailhouse, Bell Orchestre, the Luyas) producing and Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara mixing.  The album, released on Forward Music in Canada, Proper in the UK and Ferryhouse in Germany, Austria and Switzerland found its way onto BBC and CBC airwaves as well as best-of the year lists in Canada, Europe and as far afield as Mexico and Japan.  Tim recorded a live session for BBC radio with legendary DJ Bob Harris that was aired in early 2014.


PBS has toured Canada and Europe, sharing the stage with the likes of Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters)Great Lake Swimmersand Dan Mangan.  An onstage collaboration with Clogs (regular collaborators and members of the National and My Brightest Diamond) was released as a limited-edition 7″ for International Record Store Day 2013.  Tim is presently working with engineer Dean Nelson (Beck, Thurston Moore, Bat for Lashes) on a new album set for release in 2014/15.


Using any and all sounds that become available to him, Little Alaska crafts songs of mystery, magic and nothingness.

Originally from County Durham, Rupert Ludlow followed the trail to the big lights of the city – setting up his home in Hackney Wick, London and becoming a founding member of the Unit 15. collective of Vittoria Wharf.
When the fumes became too much, he packed his bags once again, disappearing into the Swedish forests through the first half of 2012 (in an attempt to hide from the impending Armageddon). In his time away, he realized two things: that the world had not ended, and that as the old adage goes ‘if a tree falls in the woods but no one is around to hear it fall, does it make a sound?’ people probably wouldn’t hear his music unless he left the woods himself.

Returning in time to the hills of his youth, he has set about creating an existence as diverse as his music. Using oral history and storytelling as a basis to work alongside local communities in the creation of music and theater projects, Rupert is very busy working on the final stages of his first film commission The Heart of Teesdale, due to be completed in September 2014.
He is currently knitting together the final minutes of his debut record, to be released Winter 2014.



“Crabtree’s voice yearns… Soon you’ll be drawn deep inside these enormously powerful layers of sound” -★★★★ Rolling Stone Magazine, Germany
“Crabtree’s more than one to watch, he’s one to listen to, now.” Americana UK
“This isn’t merely indie folk music: Paper Beat Scissors is a genuine work of effortless art.”
Pop Matters
“…you’ll be stirred for life.” Leicester Bangs
“…a beautiful work of art. If this doesn’t make it on the 2012 Polaris Prize Nominee list, there’s something wrong with that jury.” Stage Door
“Tim Crabtree is incantatory on his self-titled debut album…”  NOW Magazine


    “…a unique and glorious folk experience.”  Spill Magazine
“…powerful and uplifting…” Nexus
“Beautiful” Laurie Brown, The Signal, CBC Radio 2
“Tim Crabtree has such a unique sound that it’s hard to put his ambient, folk melodies into word. Cinematic in scope, [it] builds dynamic results with the most subtle, gentle touch. Each time I see Tim… on stage… I leave speechless”

Friday nights at HQ @ Empty Shop HQ
Sep 26 @ 8:00 pm – Sep 27 @ 12:30 am

ESHQ FridaysHQ is open every Friday & Staurday night. As event led, cultural venue there is likely to be an exhibition or event taking place in our front room but our bar is always open for those looking for good people and good music.

Check out the calendar for events info or just pop along for a few drinks and the usual Empty Shop vibe.


Saturday nights at HQ @ Empty Shop HQ
Sep 27 @ 8:00 pm – Sep 28 @ 12:30 am

SatHQ is open every Friday & Staurday night. As event led, cultural venue there is likely to be an exhibition or event taking place in our front room but our bar is always open for those looking for good people and good music.

Check out the calendar for events info or just pop along for a few drinks and the usual Empty Shop vibe.


The Jazz Sessions @ Empty Shop HQ
Oct 2 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Working in association with the Jazz Co-Op in Newcastle and following a successful run of taster sessions, we are excited to announce that The Jazz Sessions will continue on the first Thursday of every month.

Jazz sessions webThanks to everyone who came to the first four sessions.

Bands will be announced soon so please check back.

We encourage anyone with an interested in live jazz, or an ear for discovery to come along and support these events and please, spread the word!

Doors from 7:30pm // Music starts at 8pm


Jazz Co-Op – click here

// Latest news


The Jazz Sessions

April 2, 2014

We are starting a monthly Jazz session this month with a view to establish regular gigs in Durham City. The Jazz Sessions will take place...


DIY Youth Co-Op Launches

January 22, 2014

Could you be part of Durham’s next generation of DIY creative? From Thursday 6th Feb we’re starting a new initiative to help young people put...


XMAS and NYE at Empty Shop… PARTYYYYY!

December 6, 2013

December is a really busy month, we have loads going on so check out the calander for sure, but this post is about the parties...


Durham Book festival at Empty Shop HQ

September 27, 2013

We’ve gone Cuckoo for Durham Book Festival The Book Festival is one of the highlights of the Durham’s cultural calendar and while we’ve hosted the...