KOKO (venue)

KOKO (venue)

Infobox Theatre
name = KOKO



caption = Camden Palace Theatre, now KOKO, 2007
address = Camden High Street
city = Camden, London
country =
designation = Grade II listed
latitude = 51.534722
longitude = -0.138333
architect = W.G.R. Sprague
owner = The Mint Group
capacity = 2,434 seated on 4 levels(1901)
1,410 (2008)
type = Concert venue
opened =
yearsactive = 1900 - 1913 as theatre
1913 - 1939 as cinema
1945 - 1972 BBC studio
rebuilt = 2004 refurbishment
closed =
othernames = 1900 Camden Theatre
1909 Camden Hippodrome Theatre
1913 Camden Hippodrome Picture Theatre
1970 The Music Machine
1982 Camden Palace
2004 KOKO
production =
currentuse = Concerts
website = www.koko.uk.com

KOKO is a nightclub in Camden Town, London, England, at the bottom of Camden High Street close to Mornington Crescent tube station. Until 2004 it was called the Camden Palace. The building is considered to have some architectural significance, and is a Grade II listed building.

History of the venue

The "Camden Theatre", opened on Boxing Day 1900, with a capacity of 2,434 it was one of the largest theatres in London outside the West End. The theatre was designed by the prolific theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague with an exterior symmetrical stone façade in a Classical style with four stone pillars that are spaced between windows. The building is dominated by a large copper dome, that originally had an open lantern that was topped by a statue. There were also eight statues of classical figures mounted on the corner pediments of the building. Decorated in a Baroque style with naked female figures holding supports for the boxes and columns, the rectangular marble proscenium is topped by more plaster reliefs of reclining naked women. The ceiling contains a shallow dome. [ [http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/CamdenTheatre.htm "Camden Theatre" (Arthur Lloyd)] accessed 21 Nov 2007]

The theatre was opened by Ellen Terry, then the most celebrated actress in England, who had lived in nearby Stanhope Street as a child. The "St Pancras Gazette", a local newspaper, commented as follows in a review of the theatre's production of an opera called "The Geisha" in 1901::"It is a matter of special gratification that the opera was presented at our beautiful local theatre on a scale of magnificence and completeness which would do credit to a West End theatre, but this is nothing new at the Camden Theatre, being rather a continuation of the policy with which the proprietors started their enterprise, viz. to offer nothing to their patrons but standard work, which has received the unmistakable approval of critics and public." ["St Pancras Gazette" (1901)]

On 6 December 1909 it reopened as a variety theatre and became the "Camden Hippodrome Theatre". By 1911 films were being presented as part of the programme and in January 1913 it became a cinema known as the "Camden Hippodrome Picture Theatre", operated by Biocolour Picture Theatres Ltd. From January 1928, they were taken over by the Gaumont British cinema circuit in July 1930.

Closed during World War II, it survived the mid 20th century, when many similar buildings were demolished, including Camden Town's other theatre, the Bedford Theatre, largely because it became a BBC radio theatre from 1945, however some voices called for its demolition in the 1970s. Programmes recorded at the theatre included the Goon Show. The BBC moved to the Golders Green Hippodrome in 1972, and it became a live music venue, called "The Music Machine", and in 1982 became the "Camden Palace", and in 2004 it was redeveloped and renamed once again as "KOKO", with a capacity of 1,410. The previous industrial fittings of the Camden Palace were removed and it was repainted in a dark red colour and fitted with brand new sound equipment. [ cite web | title=A Unique Venue With a Unique History | work=KOKO corporate web site| url=http://www.KOKOcorporate.com/index2.html | accessdate=2006-06-27 ]

Since then it has hosted concerts for bands like of Coldplay, Madonna, Prince, My Chemical Romance, Miley Cyrus and Babyshambles and has regular weekly club nights. The video for the Placebo's "Because I Want You" single was shot at the venue. Hannah Montana performed a concert in January 2007 at the venue, broadcast globally on Disney Channel under the title "" Additionally, Testament's "Live in London" cd/dvd release was recorded and filmed on 8 May, 2005 at KOKO. The American Rock band My Chemical Romance played an exclusive private gig here, hosted by Radio 1 on 2 April 2007. The Channel 4 programme The Album Chart Show is recorded at KOKO.

References

* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 102 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3

External links

* [http://cinematreasures.org/theater/14486/ Cinema Treasures history of Camden Hippodrome Picture Theatre]
* [http://www.revival.stormshadow.com/scene/venue.camden-palace.html History of the Camden Palace]


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