The Koko music venue in Camden is set to reopen after three years next spring, unveiling a £70 million revamp, with new spaces for broadcasting, recording and livestreaming alongside its main theatre.
“After three long and epic years of construction and restoration, I’m excited to announce that we will be returning Koko to the musicians, artists and fans next spring with a beautifully restored theatre and live music offering that will hopefully be a truly unique and unparalleled experience for everyone coming through the doors”, says venue boss Olly Bengough.
Bengough took back full control of the venue in 2016. He originally took over and relaunched the Camden Palace as Koko in 2004, before selling a 50% stake to US-based Loton Group ten years later.
In 2018, the venue was temporarily closed due to a “structural issue”, and six months later it was closed again for what was at that time announced as a £40 million revamp. Unfortunately, in January 2020, the building caught fire, taking 60 fire fighters five hours to get it under control. As well as damage from the fire itself, this also left the building with extensive water damage.
Work nonetheless continued – delayed again by a global pandemic – and now the venue is finally set to reopen in spring 2022. It will relaunch in partnership with content company Sister – maker of TV programmes such as ‘Chernobyl’, ‘Giri/Haji’, ‘Flowers’ and ‘Broadchurch’ – which announced its investment in the venue in September last year.
“It’s never been more important to support the next generation of artists and storytellers to collaborate, innovate and share their work”, says Sister co-founder Elisabeth Murdoch. “Although we’ve all been eager for the return of live music we’ve also been discovering new ways to engage with the artists we love through their creative endeavours in the digital space, keeping us united as a global community”.
“It’s this connective power of music and the arts that Olly and his team are harnessing as they develop Koko into London’s first next generation global entertainment experience”, she continues. “At Sister we’re really excited to partner with Koko and to use our collective expertise, networks and shared independence to forge creative collaborations and empower artists and audiences around the world”.
The revamp sees Koko extend into adjacent buildings, a former piano factory and what was previously the Hope & Anchor pub – the latter of which then Koko owner Obar Camden managed to stop being redeveloped into flats in 2015.
Among the new spaces in the relaunched Koko – in addition to its existing 1500 capacity main venue – will be another venue, gallery, shop, pizza restaurant, recording studio and private members club.
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