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Hackney Arts Centre: £1.9m funding boost for project to transform Stoke Newington’s derelict ABC Cinema

PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:32 15 February 2018

The Art Deco theatre is now derelict but Auro hopes to change that.

The Art Deco theatre is now derelict but Auro hopes to change that.

Archant

The project to transform Stoke Newington’s derelict ABC Cinema into a new venue known as the Hackney Arts Centre has received £1.9million in funding.

The ABC Cinema in July 1963. Picture: Amir Dotan The ABC Cinema in July 1963. Picture: Amir Dotan

Shoreditch arts hub Village Underground, which is behind the £3m renovation, has been given the cash from Big Issue Invest, The Arts Impact Fund and Triodos Bank.

The new 2,500 venue is expected to deliver “world class cultural events” and run educational programmes for up to 400 socially excluded youngsters each year through charity Community Music. It hopes to be the “springboard for the next generation of creative talent” in Hackney.

Auro Foxcroft, owner of Village Underground, said: “All three investors are passionate about the social impact of the Hackney Arts Centre and have been creative and bold in getting us this far.

“As a social enterprise, it’s essential for us to have financial backing that understands our goals, and in this way these organisations have set us free to usher something into the world that would have otherwise not been possible.”

The newly built Savoy in 1936. Picture: Amir Dotan The newly built Savoy in 1936. Picture: Amir Dotan

Though still in the very early stages of renovation, the Art Deco venue is holding its first gig tonight (Thu). XL Recordings owner Richard Russell’s is launching his album Everything is Recorded in what was formerly the Epic events space. Musicians Sampha and Ibeyi will be on hand for the sold-out show, while a special installation from Toby Ziegler will take place in the old theatre upstairs.

The Art Deco theatre opened as the Savoy in 1936 and became the ABC in 1961. It closed in 1977 and became the Konak, specialising in Bollywood films.

It was renamed Ace Cinema in 1982 and closed in 1984 when the curtain came down on Al Pacino classic Scarface.

Auro burst onto the scene when he opened Village Underground in 2007, converting four Tube carriages and two shipping containers into co-working spaces and then putting them on top of an old railway viaduct in Great Eastern Street – before renovating an old Victorian warehouse next to it to expand the venue.

Auro Foxcroft also runs The Village Underground, which opened in Shoreditch in 2006. Picture: Hackney Council Auro Foxcroft also runs The Village Underground, which opened in Shoreditch in 2006. Picture: Hackney Council

Epic and Efes, the pool bar, will both be closed to make way for the arts centre.

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