Concert venue and former theatre in Camden, KOKO, is to relaunch in spring 2022 after £70m of investment, as a live music venue spanning 4,645sqm.
The venue, previously known as The Music Machine and Camden Palace, has undergone three years of construction and restoration and in the process has suffered major challenges including a fire, water damage and the pandemic.
KOKO founder and CEO Olly Bengough’s new venture is being launched in partnership with SISTER, a global content company behind productions such as Chernobyl and forthcoming titles such as This is Going to Hurt.
The Grade II listed Victorian theatre has a new four-storey extension, with new features including high-spec broadcasting, recording and live streaming capabilities.
The venue will allow artists to co-produce, stream and distribute their music to a global audience with the newly formed KOKO Studio.
The venue will also launch a new radio station, while its new foundation which launches next year as a registered charity, has a mission to “empower future generations of artists and protect the environment”. The foundation will begin with a focus on projects within its community of Camden.
Working with English Heritage, the investment encompasses the restoration of the water-damaged theatre and burnt copper dome, as well as a redevelopment of the new project.
The venue will offer a multi-tiered experience including a new shop featuring artist collaborations and a late-night pizzeria and tap bar hosting intimate live performances. At the centre of the restoration will be the unveiling of the new ”Fly Tower venue” and gallery above the stage. Artists will have the opportunity to perform in the round on a 360 stage or in a more intimate setting.
The venue’s membership offering for fans will also give access to a new roof terrace and conservatory, dome cocktail bar, penthouse and recording studio, piano room, library, a hidden speakeasy, stage kitchen and vinyl rooms.
Bengough said, “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.
“We are as committed as ever to protect our 120 year cultural legacy and to support the next generation of musicians and London’s dynamic and ever growing music scene. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to KOKO in Spring 2022.”
SISTER co-founder and executive chairman Elisabeth Murdoch said, “It’s never been more important to support the next generation of artists and storytellers to collaborate, innovate and share their work. 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. 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.“