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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 13:46 GMT
Former church becomes music hall
Vincent Hayes
Vincent Hayes is the founder of the Brick Lane Music Hall
Britain's only remaining music hall is re-opening in a former church in east London on Friday.

Brick Lane Music Hall has spent 1m on refurbishment at its new address in Silvertown near City Airport after being forced out of its old home.

It was established in 1992 by local resident Vincent Hayes, who wanted a community theatre in the old-fashioned style of the area.

Its first new show features the pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

The hall first had to move in 1996 from its home at a former worker's canteen in an old brewery in Brick Lane because of increasing rent.

It was re-housed in nearby Curtain Road but high rents again forced it out in February 2001.

Church offer

As Mr Hayes was unable to find another suitable building in the borough Tower Hamlets, an offer by Newham Council to use the empty St Mark's church in Silvertown was accepted.

Work then began on refurbishing of the Grade II listed building.

Many enthusiasts of music hall were first introduced to the its acts as customers at The Lord Hood pub in Bethnal Green, east London, where Mr Hayes was landlord.

Born in Galway, Eire, Mr Hayes has lived in east London most of his life.

He moved into variety shows after a spell of acting and formed the idea for the music hall after the success of his pub variety acts.

As well as its evening shows, the hall has regular matinees for pensioners and social clubs with tea and cream cakes.




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