Mare Street’s failed music venue Ocean to reopen as Hackney Picturehouse next year
17:42 21 December 2010
Four cinema screens and three bars due to open in autumn 2011
THE Ocean, Hackney Council’s white elephant music venue, will be transformed into the Hackney Picturehouse after being leased by City Screen, the Gazette can reveal.
The independent cinema chain which runs the Stratford, Clapham and Greenwich Picturehouses and the Ritzy in Brixton is planning to create four cinema screens and three bars in the venue, a former library, when it takes control of the building in January.
New jobs will also be created after it opens in autumn 2011.
Bosses are remaining tight-lipped about how much money the company is pumping into the building, which was converted into a music venue at the cost of £23 million, including a £15 million grant from Arts Council England, at the turn of the century but it is thought to run into millions.
But the venue will still be used for some music performances.
A Picturehouse spokesman said: “We are thrilled and excited to be opening the Hackney Picturehouse in the autumn. We’re looking forward to providing a diverse range of programming including live music as well as a great range of films synonymous with Picturehouse cinemas up and down the country.
“We hope to make the Hackney Picturehouse a focal point for the community just as the Ritzy in Brixton is the home of cinema in that community.”
The Gazette reported the controversial decision to allow a cinema to take over in June but it was unclear which operator would take over.
Alongside City Screen, a team which has made a success of making The Tabernacle in west London a music venue, also bid for the building’s lease.
But which cinema chain won the lease was not revealed.
Cinemas run by the group vary depending on the area they are placed in and it prides itself on programming for local areas.
Another feature of other cinemas in the chain is a range of membership options which give viewers discounts on films and drinks at the bar.
Cinemagoers are kept up to date with weekly newsletters and direct mail.
The spokesman added that its cinemas in other parts of London had “a very loyal customer base”.
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