Restoring an East London Icon

Posted on September 10, 2021

Ahead of our 88th birthday weekend, we have some very exciting news to share.

While the doors have been closed over the last 18 months we’ve been working on a landmark restoration project for the building and the first stages will be ready when we reopen our door for our events this month!

A huge investment has created a brand-new stage, enabling larger productions. We have restored the foyer and entrance area and created new facilities for visitors to the venue. 

The project design has been led by historic building specialists Ian Chalk Architects with on-site management by M Bradbrook Electrical Services. Huge thanks for the significant support from Arts Council England, the Theatres Trust and Tower Hamlets Council.

Every element of the restoration is in line with its Grade II listed status and the process has given us an insight into some of the hidden 1930s grandeur and original features, which have been covered up by previous generations. As much as possible we are returning them to their original design and intention of the building.

On arrival, visitors to the venue will immediately see the return of the stunning travertine floor in the foyer thanks to the removal of the 1990s box office and renovation by stonemasons.

The stage has undergone a huge amount of work to expose the original fly tower within the original proscenium arch, not seen since the 1970s, and bring it up to date with cutting edge production.

The stage has moved back to where it was situated in the 1930s. The non-authentic rear wall has been removed to expose the huge original stage area, behind the proscenium arch. One huge stage area with wings has been created, enabling large scale productions with rapid changeovers for concerts and award ceremonies. 

You will be pleased to hear that the ventilation systems have been overhauled to bring the original venue plant back into use, creating much-improved airflow and conditions for concerts and club nights. This eliminates any recirculating air, so it now runs at a 100% fresh air supply.

This project is the first major refurbishment to this iconic building since 2006 and is the first stage of a multi-year plan to restore many of our original features. 

If you’re visiting us in September 2021 you’ll see a series of new Covid-safety features including touch-free basins in the toilets, sanitising stations throughout the venue and all team members and serving staff will wear masks to protect audiences and have regular lateral flow tests. 

For full listings for Autumn and Winter 2021 visit: