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The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The Hackney Arts Centre, 15 Stoke Newington Road, Hackney, London

Formerly - The Savoy Theatre - Cinema / ABC / Konak / Ace / Epic

See also in this area - The Hackney Empire - The Alexandra Theatre, Stoke Newington Road

A Google StreetView Image of the former Savoy Theatre, Stoke Newington - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the former Savoy Theatre, Stoke Newington - Click to Interact

The Savoy Theatre was built for Associated British Cinemas, otherwise known as ABC, and was designed by their own in house architect William R. Glen in the Art Deco Style. The Theatre opened on the 26th of October 1936 with a showing of the Films 'Mr. Deeds Goes To Town' and 'The Case Against Mrs. Ames'.

The Savoy was built primarily as a Cinema although it did have a small stage, it's auditorium was on two levels, Stalls and one Balcony. The Theatre was also equipped with a Compton 3 Manual / 5 Rank Theatre Organ which had originally been situated in the Astoria Cinema in Cliftonville, Kent.

In 1961 the Theatre was renamed ABC who had continued to run the Theatre since it was first opened, but they eventually closed it in March 1977 and it was then reopened as the Konak Cinema for the showing of Bollywood Films.

Taken over again in 1982 the Theatre was renamed the ACE Cinema and it returned to showing general release films again for the next two years until it was closed in 1984.

This was to be the end of its Cinema days and the Theatre was converted by putting in a false ceiling from the balcony to the stage and using the former stalls as a Snooker Hall. Meanwhile the former Balcony remained boarded off and unused. The Theatre's Foyer was converted into shops in the 1990s by the removal of the former staircase which originally served the now closed off Balcony. Around this time the Theatre's former stage area was converted into a restaurant.

A Google StreetView Image of the side elevation of the former Savoy Theatre, Stoke Newington - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the side elevation of the former Savoy Theatre, Stoke Newington - Click to Interact

In 2014 the Snooker Hall was converted into a Function Room called Epic and the rest of the building was unused and falling into disrepair, the Theatre's future looked pretty bleak. But in July 2017 Hackney Council, whose Jurisdiction the former Theatre comes under, granted planning permission for the conversion of the Theatre into an Arts Centre called the Hackney Arts Centre by Village Underground, who had previously converted a Shoreditch Warehouse into a popular venue for Concerts, Club Nights, Exhibitions, Theatre, and other Live Arts performances.

There was much media interest in the plans for the old Savoy Theatre when they discovered the former Theatre's Balcony and Art Deco Plasterwork were all still in situ, hidden from the public since 1984. Village Underground say that they plan to restore the Theatre to its former glory when it will be 'reimagined as a visual 21st Century Arts Centre for Hackney'.

You may like to visit the Hackney Arts Centre's own website here.

Some of the above information on the Savoy was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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