Lambton’s iconic music venue heads into a new era
The iconic Lambton entertainment venue, Lizotte’s, has officially moved into a new era with owners, Wayne Rogers and James Hingston, officially taking the reins on Wednesday, the 1st of November.
The striking blue façade overlooking the expansive Lambton Park has been home to many concerts, performances, and touring events over the years with most Novocastrians certainly able to recall a tale or two.
In late 2022, owners Brian and Jo Lizotte, listed the theatre for sale, with the future of Lizotte’s heading into the unknown.
Enter two fresh faced entertainment legends whose story for getting to where they are today is one to hear.
Wayne, originally from Tamworth, has called Newcastle home for over 35 years and has become known around town for his charmingly extravagant entertainment and high tea experiences he hosts in his Wallsend-based heritage home.
“I ended up falling in love with Newcastle and I’ve been here for about 35 years now. I am so pleased I stayed. I couldn’t have lived in Sydney or Melbourne. I travel there singing and visiting, but there is no place like home,” Wayne said.
James has been in Newcastle for over 20 years and comes with a broad background in the local entertainment industry as well as being Wayne’s manager for the past eight or so years.
So, how did this unique story unfold? It starts like most business opportunities do – a conversation with a friend that evolved into a somewhat supernatural journey.
“I went to Sydney to see Phantom of the Opera with a friend. We were having coffee just beforehand, and she was telling me that she goes to the Amazing Valda – the clairvoyant. I said, I’d really like to go and see her, I’ll grab her number off of you.
“The next day on Facebook, I had just put a post up on Facebook of me singing on a set of stairs and the Amazing Valda had written, ‘you need to go and buy Lizotte’s, it will be wow’ – She had never commented before, so I thought she must have a message for me.
“Up I went, and the whole reading was about me owning this place. She said you’ll be buying the building and the business.”
Just over 12 months later that ‘vision’ has come to fruition.
“Wayne didn’t even know if this was going to happen. He wasn’t even sure it was possible. I said, let’s try and see what we can do. I knew nothing was impossible,” James said.
To add a little extra note of serendipity, Wayne remembers working in the building for over six years when he first moved to Newcastle. From waiting tables to performing, choreographing, and even casting – it’s truly a full-circle moment for him.
“I just feel like I’ve come home,” Wayne said.
Whilst the duo are fresh into their roles of theatre owners, they’re excited to add a little touch of their own spark into the venue.
What can you expect? The same charming hospitality that Lizotte’s has become known for, and their rock ‘n roll, jazz, and blues gigs, but only time will tell exactly how this venue will transform and add to our local entertainment scene.