The Music Hall Revival: Victorian Chic
With the news that Hoxton Hall in East London has just been awarded £1.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it has become very clear that we have a music hall revival on our hands. Both Hoxton and Wilton’s Music Hall, both based in the Shoreditch area, have become the focus of rejuvenation and revitalisation – the restoration of Victorian chic.
And this is wonderful news. Not only home to shabby chic bars, tasteful lighting and the trendiest East London clientele, these music halls have the power to offer us a diversity of entertainments: theatre, music, comedy and dance – just like in the good old days. Forget the X Factor, forget Britain’s Got Talent – you can find real variety at these multi-purpose venues.
The recent success of The Horror! The Horror! is testament to Wilton Music Hall’s ability to put on wonderful site-specific performances whilst the main space is under refurbishment. A complete sell out for two and a half weeks, with two performances a night, technician Rosie Spiegelhalter talks about the piece and the greatness of such a diverse space:
People are interested in new and exciting types of theatre. The piece made use of the entire building, and all of the rooms around it. It was so atmospheric… They’re refurbishing the main space which should return in February, but in the meantime there’s some amazing site-specific work going on that really makes use of this great venue.
Now, it seems, is the time to really get into variety with money being pumped into these places, they have the power to refurbish and produce wonderful entertainment in the meantime. Hoxton Hall’s main show – Live at the Apollo star Dave Gorman – has sold out, but the quirky band Matthew and Me are playing on Thursday 22nd if you want a taste of folk music.
There hasn’t been a better time to check out these two theatres, the chic-est of the chic, the oldest of the old and the best of the best.
Other theatre news this week
– Southwark Playhouse is moving premises, to Elephant and Castle
– The Donmar Warehouse £10 Barclaycard scheme began this week – set your diaries for next Monday, 10am to ensure you get the cheap Front Row tickets here!