Jongleurs' nightclub partner goes under

11 sites at risk as Luminar collapses

A question mark hangs over the future of more than half of Jongleurs’ regular comedy venues after the collapse of nightclub operator Luminar.

The nightclub chain – which owns 75 venues including Oceana, Liquid and Lava & Ignite brands – has gone into administration with debts of £85million.

Jongleurs runs comedy nights in 11 of those sites, and earlier this year announced plans to expand into more.

The clubs will remain open while an administrator is appointed, and it is hoped that buyers will be found for at least some of the sites.

Jongleurs founder Maria Kempinska stressed: ‘We are open this weekend’ and said the news would not adversely affect the business.

‘The bankers will now decide what to do with those 75 venues, and there’s a chance ours wont be affected at all,’ she told Chortle.

‘And there are people knocking on our door to put on more comedy. We are here for the long haul.’

As well as its clubs, Jongleurs runs theatre nights and corporate entertainment, making it Britain’s biggest employer of comedians doing live work.

Around 3,000 full and part-time Luminar staff could lose their jobs following the collapse, attributed to pubs extending their licensing hours, the smoking ban, and the recession hitting 18-24-year-olds particularly hard. Comedy was part of Luminar’s plan to attract an older customer base.

Luminar said it was unable to meet some of its repayments to the banks, due today, so had ‘no option’ but to go to into administration. Shares, which once traded at more than £6, slumped to 0.3p last night before being suspended.

The company recorded losses of £198 million in the year to the end of February on sales of only £137million

The Jongleurs nights held in Luminar venues are:

Basildon Liquid & Envy
Birmingham Oceana
Cardiff Oceana
Edinburgh Lava & Iginte
Kingston Hippodrome
Leeds Oceana
Milton Keynes Oceana
Newcastle Liquid
Norwich Project
Swansea Oceana
Watford Oceana

Jongleurs in Bristol, Covent Garden, Croydon, Glasgow, Keminska’s in London, Nottingham and Portsmouth are unaffected by today’s news.

When the deal with Luminar was struck, Kempinska, said: ‘We know via our conversations with various operators, that comedy is considered a key element of an integrated offering within a modern day leisure business - typified by Luminar's approach.’

Earlier this month, Luminar had its licence suspended for its Lava & Ignite in Northampton after student Nabila Nanfuka, 22, died following a crush leaving the venue.

Published: 27 Oct 2011

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