IT was forced out of Wolstenholme Square to make way for the gentrifiers of Ropewalks. Now, almost a year later, the spirit of the late, lamented Kazimier club is set to rise again - on the opposite side of the city.
In the 11 months since it went, the Kazimier's sibling organisation, The Invisible Wind Factory, up on the north docks, has been the quiet cultural success story of the year, creating large scale productions from its in-house workshops, exporting them around the UK and beyond.
The Kazimier name will not be resurrected in the new venue. It simply couldn’t be, but much of the spirit will remain the same
Yes, there have even been one-off events, but it wouldn't be complete without a permanent, licensed performance space. Thus the Kazimier Collective, the team behind both organisations, has submitted plans to the city council to establish what is described as a “replacement” Kazimier in adjoining industrial premises along Regent Road.
The new plans will see the Invisible Wind Factory taking in an adjoining 800 sq m industrial unit plus an outdoor space on the corner of Regent Street.
The project will double its existing workshop space and complete the collective’s colonisation of the imposing building in a long neglected area opposite Clarence Dock. It also signals a vote of confidence in what was seen, by some, as a risky move to the north end.
“The Kazimier name will not be resurrected,” says Liam Naughton, one of the club’s founders, “it simply couldn’t be, but much of the spirit will remain the same.”
Under the Invisible Wind Factory banner, a multi-purpose theatre, music venue and conference space - with a potential 1,300 capacity - would be established over an additional 800 sq metre space, creating three new full time jobs and 30 more part time roles.
And this being in the spirit of the hugely successful original, a new garden is being bolted on the side, “a tranquil space for people to hang out in,” Naughton says.
The Kazimier Collective is a CIC which receives no public funding for its day to day existence, however Liverpool’s deputy mayor, Cllr Ann O’Byrne, local councillor Joe Hanson and culture supremo Clare McColgan have all visited the site to hear details of what are described as ambitious and exciting plans for the dock road area of the city.
Kazimier’s architects Architectural Emporium of Hope Street have put forward plans for a change of use for what are currently zoned as industrial buildings.
“The proposed use of the building is to replace the very successful Kazimier Club, previously located on Wolstenholme Square in the city centre, which has now been demolished to make way for a major housing scheme, “ says the submission.
It adds: “Kazimier Productions has been an incredible success story for the arts in Liverpool and they are now exporting their productions elsewhere across the country and abroad. They have an excellent track record of delivering innovative performative and technological artistic content which is enjoyed by a wide demographic of people in a safe & responsible way and it is important for the city’s cultural export that they are able to continue doing so for many years to come.”
They say the substantial nature of the venue means that the Invisible Wind Factory has the potential to not only replace the jobs that were lost on the closure of the original venue in the city centre but significantly expand on them.
Says Naughton: “We create large, site specific productions and installations for festivals and events around the UK and beyond, in our technical, woodwork and metal workshops. We can have about 60 craftspeople and technicians working here, just on that and we often use many of the existing tradespeople, our neighbours, to carry out this work.
"Creating a permanent venue next door will mean we can replace - and greatly expand - on the jobs that were lost when the Kazimier went."
But he added: "We aren't planning to be open every night, like the original club where people could just roll up. We will be taking the approach that less is more and concentrating on a couple of really special events every week.
"Nor do we want to be an empty vessel for promoters. If someone wants to put an event on in here, they will be working with us as producers and artists. We will design the space with them, the lighting, the lasers and special effects."
Already this year, the Invisible Wind Factory has hosted and worked with high profile event organisers on temporary licences: the Vogue Ball, the Voodoo Ball and drama performances which were part of the Liverpool Irish Festival.
Naughton added: "They were all very successful and all proved that many people are prepared to travel out of their comfort zone to an area not best served by public transport. Once they are here, if anything, audiences appear to appreciate and enjoy what's on offer even more, maybe because of that."
Among the uses earmarked in the plans are a theatre, a music venue, bar, conference centre, night club, yoga and spa facilities as well as arts production workshops. There are already many artists' studios in the building, and even a radio station.
The plans are now being studied by planning officers in Liverpool, with more details of the scheme expected soon.
Liverpool Confidential recently reported on the city council’s new Ten Streets initiative to capitalise on the neglected dockland area by designating it a major creative zone.
The Titanic Hotel alongside Stanley Dock has already injected new life into the area, Liverpool Sound City is now based at Bramley Moore Dock, Cream is also looking north with one-off events.
It remains to be seen if Kirkdale will become the new capital of culture - at least as far as Merseyside is concerned.
However, nobody can doubt the Kazimier Collective's role as a major cultural catalyst in the whole project.
Invisible to invincible anyone?