Derelict Art Deco cinema to be transformed into £3 million arts centre

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A historic east London cinema which lay derelict for over 30 years is to be transformed into a major new arts centre. 

The former Savoy Cinema in Hackney will finally be transformed after plans were given the green light following hundreds of letters of support from residents. 

The £3 million project will be led by owners of Village Underground, an art gallery and music venue in Shoreditch

Village Underground founder Auro Foxcroft said: “We now have the opportunity to build a world class cultural venue for Hackney and London.

“It’s a testimony to Hackney Council that they support major arts projects in this way, that they believe in their local cultural organisations and ultimately, that they act on the belief that culture and art are fundamental to us all, as individuals and society as a whole.”

Village Underground was awarded £600,000 by The Arts Impact Fund to help with the new venue.

The new development will replace Efes Snooker Club and will boast a new theatre, concert hall, bar, cafe and restaurant.

Mr Foxcroft hopes the Hackney Arts Centre will become London’s leading performing arts venue.

He added: “We’ve already set to work, we’re creating something new and beautiful for the cultural life of the city, something that we hope will be treasured for years to come.”

The original art deco building was built in 1936 and was designed by architect William R. Glen for Associated British Cinemas which was a popular local amenity until its closure in 1977.

The cinema was then taken over by an Independent company and renamed Ace Cinema.

The main auditorium, which has remained in a delapidated state since the mid-90s, will see its original art deco features returned to their former glory along with the bar and café which will be given a major overhaul.

Part of the venue is to open this autumn with the rest opening in spring 2018. 

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