Lianne La Havas, Jorja Smith, and Peter Doherty lined up as Koko reopens after fire

Lianne La Havas and the new roof terrace at Koko, Camden

Lianne La Havas and the new roof terrace at Koko - Credit: Aaron Chown/PA/Recent Spaces

A restored and expanded Koko in Camden will open in April, more than two years after fire tore through the historic venue.

Lined up for the season at the High Street venue are shows by Jorja Smith, Kim Gordon, Lianne La Havas, Tems and Peter Doherty.

The former Camden Theatre and Camden Palace has undergone a £70 million redevelopment into a 50,000sq/ft music venue and broadcasting house. 

The new KOKO will include the new Fly Tower "venue within a venue". A 50ft tall shaft housing the original 19th century machinery to operate the theatre stage – a surprise discovery during the restoration – stands alone as an intimate, 200 capacity venue, with the audience on surrounding balconies and on the stage itself. 

A sketch of the Fly Tower at Koko, in Camden

A sketch of the Fly Tower at Koko, in Camden - Credit: Koko

Over the years, the theatre's stage has been graced by Charlie Chaplin, Madonna, Amy Winehouse and Kanye, among hundreds of others.

In 2014, Prince was joined on stage by Lianne La Havas, who returns for three dates on May 9-11.

“Koko has been truly missed," she said. "It’s one of my favourite London venues and many of my favourite artists have played there.  Having always wanted to do my own show at Koko, I’m excited that I now have the opportunity to do that."

Prince, performing at Koko

Prince, performing at Koko - Credit: Matt Chung

British R&B singer Jorja Smith will play a headline show on May 26, and there are dates already lined up by singer, songwriter, producer and Rihanna favourite Tems (June 17 and 22); rock royalty Kim Gordon (May 23); Mercury Prize nominated jazz-meets-electronica ensemble GoGo Penguin (November 3); cinematic London instrumental act Portico Quartet (May 8); father of the Ethio-Jazz movement Mulatu Astatke (May 15), classic ska act The Beat (July 3), and Japanese post-rock act Mono (September 16).

Nick Lewis, Koko’s head of music, said: “I’m so excited about our opening season and the quality and eclectic nature of our line ups. Putting together this mix of talent is exactly what we love doing.”

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On Friday and Saturday nights, until 6am, the venue will host Koko Electronic, with the latest electronic music artists from around the world.

The Dome at Koko in Camden

Koko's dome - Credit: David Levene

Dates confirmed so far include Luciano (April 30), DJ Todd Terje (July 2), Kabza De Small (July 29), DJ Jayda G (May 7), 2ManyDJs (May 6), Kerri Chandler (May 28), India Jordan (May 13), Optimo (May 13), DJ Seinfeld (May 20), Hot Since 82 (May 21) and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards (May 14). 

Andy Peyton, head of electronic, said: “It’s never been a more exciting time to mark a new chapter for electronic music in the capital. London is a global epicentre of talent and Koko Electronic will be a great new addition to this amazing city.”

A tiered membership scheme will give access to extensive areas including a new roof terrace, a penthouse and recording studio, and vinyl rooms.

Broadcasting, recording and live streaming capabilities have been built into the fabric of the Grade II listed theatre and its new four-storey extension.

CEO Olly Bengough said: “It’s been a seven year journey to bring this project to life and now, on the cusp of opening, I’m so happy to be paying homage to the cultural legacy of the building with a diverse mix of artists and contributing to arts and culture at a time when British live music needs it most.”

The Camden Theatre was opened in 1900 by the famous actress Ellen Terry and in 1909 hosted Charlie Chaplin. 

After the Second World War, during which it was closed, it was taken on by the BBC and was used for recordings including The Goon Show and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The Rolling Stones recorded Live At Camden Theatre from the building in 1964, for the BBC’s Rhythm and Blues show.

In the 1970s it became a live music venue – first The Music Machine and then Camden Palace – and has since hosted everyone from The Clash to Amy Winehouse.

Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas - Credit: Koko