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The O2 to reopen at full capacity

An earlier version of this story said erroneously that the O2 will reopen in December. While the Mo Gilligan event is the first to be announced, The Welcome Back Shows actually commence in August.


On the back of hosting the Brit Awards 2021, the UK’s largest indoor pilot event, last week, the O2 in London has announced plans to reopen at full capacity with a series of ‘welcome back’ events beginning this summer.

The Welcome Back Shows series will welcome capacity crowds to the 20,000-cap. arena for the first time since 2020, with a show on 8 December, featuring comedian Mo Gilligan headlining the Black British Takeover, an event celebrating black British culture, the first event announced.

Emma Bownes, VP of programming for the venue’s owner-operator, AEG Europe, says: “The Welcome Back Shows mark a really exciting moment for the O2 and for our fans, as we get ready to welcome full-capacity crowds back to the venue after such a long period. We’re planning a stunning string of events that will bring the best in comedy, dance, afrobeat, rock and pop to London and give fans what they’ve been waiting for.

“We’re delighted to be launching our return season with the very best of British comedy and know that hearing the O2 Arena roar with 20,000 laughs is the tonic we all need.”

“We’re delighted to be launching our return season with the very best of British comedy”

“I’m really proud of the black British comedy circuit that I started on. The talent on this scene is exceptional, but all too often ignored by mainstream media, so what better place to showcase the culture than the most famous venue in the country?” comments Gilligan. “We’re ready to bring the Great British public a show like you’ve never seen before.”

The O2 itself was converted into a National Health Service training facility at the start of the pandemic and before the Brits had been used for closed, livestreamed events such as the ATP Tennis Finals and Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics.

“We’re ready to welcome full capacity crowds back to the O2 again, and The Welcome Back Shows are going to bring so much joy to fans who have been missing us almost as much as we’ve been missing them,” says the arena’s GM, Steve Sayer. We have created a truly spectacular programme of events to reopen the venue, and 2022 looks set to be our year busiest ever.”

Further acts performing as part of The Welcome Back Shows will be announced in the coming weeks.


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