The Troxy celebrates eighth decade in the East End
Wrapped up in a striking art-deco design, the Troxy has shone out from the East End as a beacon of entertainment for the past eight decades.
Created by George Coles in 1933 as a luxury cinema to compete with the West End, it has long outlived sister venue, The Trocadero, in Elephant and Castle, which was demolished in the '60s. Now owned by Ashburn Estates as a wide-ranging entertainment venue, it is funded with the firm's private money.
"The fact the building still stands here is incredible," said Will Poole, events and compliance manager for five years. "It was built without any computers, yet the acoustics are fantastic. Very few venues in London are up to this standard and it's important it's kept this way - important for east London. For the 80th anniversary event, we wanted to take in all the roles the Troxy has played and give them a modern twist.
"So to celebrate the opera, we had Le Gateau Chocolat singing Nessun Dorma, and rather than straightforward bingo, people sang songs and could win things like slow cookers.
"It was great to celebrate with clients, corporates and residents. We had 25 residents who remember coming to the venue as a cinema or bingo hall and it was interesting to hear what they had to say."
In addition to the historical snapshots followed up by a screening of King Kong - the first film to be shown at the 3,520-seat building - the Troxy's Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ was brought out for all to enjoy.
Currently undergoing refurbishment, the pipe organ will soon "come back to life" in the venue it was designed for.
"As a particular reminder of the Troxy, I think it's really important," said 41-year-old Will.
"I don't think the audience [for recitals] will be massive but there's a distinctive bunch of people who want to come and listen to it, so it's going to be interesting."
Another "definite link" back to The Troxy's cinematic heritage, Will said, was the 60 or more events with Future Cinema, which saw sets from Bugsy Malone and Casablanca brought to life in the brightly-clad venue last year.
Ashburn Estates took over the Commercial Road building from Mecca Bingo in 2005 and they hired Will to lead the direction for "the jewel in their crown".
He set about introducing a fresh programme of events which has included cage-fighting, Bengali wedding receptions and rock music awards as well as setting up a schedule of Russian singers for later this year.
The venue draws in visitors from across the capital as well as from further afield, but what of its value to locals?
"Residents are happy that the venue is still being used for its intended purpose rather than being boarded up or turned into flats," he said.
"It is more of local value than it was 10 years ago.
"We are now seen as the destination to come to for events and on that basis, we hope we bring something to London.
"We will do bigger and better events, but we are proud of the portfolio of events we have now."
Go to troxy.co.uk.