Already a renowned den of artistic expression, another cultural dimension is opening soon in Dalston: the Hackney Arts Centre.
Initially announced last year, this multi-discipline space is an ambitious overhaul of what was originally a popular art deco cinema – the Savoy – built in 1936.
Before redevelopment, the dishevelled picture house had been carved up into the Efes snooker hall and a wedding venue. The auditorium had been closed to everyone since 1984 (the last film shown there was ‘Scarface’). But the venue’s rebirth as Hackney Arts Centre will see it open at various times throughout the week, day and night – so punters will always be able to get a fix of live music, club nights, film screenings, poetry readings, comedy and more.
Size-wise, there’s a pretty roomy 1,000-capacity standing venue called the HAC Hall, a 750-seater HAC Auditorium, a bar and a kitchen too. The latter will be open from 8am till late, while the venue as a whole will also provide educational initiatives in creative disciplines and a platform for emerging talent.
When the doors open in August with a performance from Kevin Morby it’ll be running a special programme until everything is fully completed in 2019. Today’s first announcement of shows includes highlights such as London songsmith Lianne La Havas and Ethiopian jazz deity Mulatu Astatke as well as talks organised by 5x15 and various market pop-ups from the likes of Hackney Flea Market.
The project is being spearheaded by Village Underground founder Auro Foxcroft, and if that’s anything to go by, then Hackney Arts Centre is set to be an energetic and eclectic city hub.
When Village Underground hit the scene in 2007, it helped to shape the East End’s creative landscape. The back-to-brick warehouse showcased unique performances and graffiti-laden train carriages on the roof gave affordable workspace to those priced out of other spots. We’re definitely betting on Hackney Arts Centre delivering that same mishmash of culture and community. See you there!
What's coming up at Hackney Arts Centre?
16th - Mulatu Astatke
18th - Lianne La Havas
22nd - Soundcrash launch event feat MNDSGN, Lapalux and Cid Rim
23rd - Independent Ceramics Market - London Design Festival
30th - Hackney Vintage Market + DIY Art Market
30th - Hackney Dissenting Academy with Iain Sinclair & Michael Moorcock
2nd - Rival Consoles
3rd - 5 x 15 talk event
7th - Hackney Flea Market
9th - Penguin Cafe (Greenpeace Event)
18th - The HAC Experience with James Acaster and guests
20th - Craig Charles Funk & Soul
24th - Stephen Malkmus
30th - Marlon Williams
6th - Jane Weaver
7th - Colin Stetson
16th - The Heatwave
18th - Hackney Vintage Market + The Big London Flea
20th - Fatoumata Diawara
22nd - Sunflower Bean
24th - EFG London Jazz Festival
29th - Cosmo Sheldrake
After some more East-End action? Oh, go on then. Here’s our guide to Hackney.