Known for his work on other theatres, incluing the London Coliseum and London Paladium, architect Frank Matcham designed this theatre in the Hackney area. Originally a music hall, Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy) have appeared on its stage. At its opening in 1901, the Hackney was an innovator since it used central heating, electric lighting, and a built-in projection box. The lobby contains red carpets and elaborate ceilings, and the 1,500-seat auditorium proper is marked by gilded, ornate surfaces, red seats, and a red curtain. Restored in 2004, the theatre hosts everything from opera and musicals to comedians.
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