Venue hoping to re-open

One of London’s most historic music venues is set to close with the owners of Hackney Empire facing financial problems.

With the credit crunch squeezing the pockets of the nation, the economic circumstances facing music venues are more intimidating than ever. With pub chains buying up sites across the UK, more and more venues are being turned into faceless fronts for breweries.

Increased noise regulation, while vital for residents, has also led to more problems for venue owners. Facing competition from chain-owned bars many venues have simply closed their doors unable to pay for the upgrades needed to meet new regulations.

Having opened over a century ago, London’s Hackney Empire is one of the most historic landmark on the city’s music scene. The venue will now close its doors in January for at least six months, with owners facing a tough financial climate.

Artistic director and chief executive Simon Thomsett left the Hackney Empire by “mutual consent” last month, with the venue now deciding to close its doors in order to gain time and work out a new strategy.

Speaking to The Stage interim chief executive Clarie Middleton, said that she does not want the closure to be permanent.

“The idea is that we stop, take a breath and take stock of the way the organisation operates. We just need a little time to do that,” she explained.

Opening in 1901, Hackney Empire was an established venue on the music hall circuit with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields and Stan Laurel all performing in the venue. A favourite venue of Pete Doherty it played host to the first ever Libertines re-union back in 2007.

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