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Sync London:Stratford’s new music venue

The team hoping to build Sync London includes Steve Brocklehurst, second from left Picture: Rosalind Butt The team hoping to build Sync London includes Steve Brocklehurst, second from left Picture: Rosalind Butt

Sunday, October 7, 2012
12:00 PM

A new venue that hopes to become a beacon for night life in east London is getting ready to open its doors to a post-Olympics Stratford.

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Sync London has undergone major refurbishment to transform into location for a transformed Stratford Picture: Rosalind ButtSync London has undergone major refurbishment to transform into location for a transformed Stratford Picture: Rosalind Butt

Sync London hopes to do for the area what Koko has done for Camden and turn Stratford into a beacon for night time leisure and the cultural life of the area.

The building, in Stratford’s High Street, was previously known as the Stratford Rex, is still owned by Newham Council. It has however undergone a major refurbishment under the guidance of a team determined to create a live music venue that does justice to a regenerated and post-Olympics Stratford.

They have worked closely with the council, the police and the Fire Brigade to ensure that all their concerns are dealt with and any conditions complied with.

It has a capacity in excess of 2,000 and boasts a stage with a large screen as well as several VIP lounges, a wine bar and a restaurant.

One of the bars on the ground floor - notice the stunning ceiling Picture: Rosalind ButtOne of the bars on the ground floor - notice the stunning ceiling Picture: Rosalind Butt

The first thing you notice as you enter the venue is the main auditorium which is huge and has a PA system for live shows, stand up comedy acts, corporate events and live music. It has two main bars on the lower floor, and two on the upper floor, one in the gallery and one in the Skylounge.

It can hold 1,200 on the ground level and also has an additional capacity for 500 at the gallery level and 180 in the Skylounge.

The Skylounge is a VIP section in the auditorium up in the gallery, with a viewing screen through which guests can watch the main events and acts of the night, all while relaxing with wine or champagne in their own private area.

The other feature that makes a huge impact is the ceiling in between the two bar areas as you enter. It is deep blue and features pin pricks of light.

The venue also has The Chase Bar wine bar, the Noble Bar, the Bridge and the Steak Cafe. The Noble Bar and the Bridge all offer a nightclub, late-evening entertainment experience, with live DJs, seating area, and greater privacy for private functions. The Noble Bar also boasts a private VIP section of its own, with views of Stratford High Street and the Olympic Village.

Steve Brocklehurst, head of strategy at the venue, said: “The vision for Sync London is one that pays as much homage to the venue’s history, and as much respect to the changing nature of Stratford itself as possible.

“The area has undergone massive change and development, and it is only fitting that Sync London should aim for the same kind of self-styled transformation.”

The venue is to be an event venue, playing host to bands, stand up comics, Secret Cinema and corporate events. Steve is hoping it will become a source of entertainment, with food and drink, and shows and attract adults and young adults from across the capital.

It will also aim to capitalise on the interest generated in sports by the Olympics and Paralympics by bringing a range of boxing events to Sync in Stratford.

Steve said: “The area has transformed and so has the venue. It is important that we find ways to involve the local community - offering art students from UEL the chance to display their work in the venue, and offering discounts to the same students to all the venue’s events.

“The venue will seek to be a hub for the workers at Westfield, the Stratford Centre, and local businesses to play as supportive a role as possible for the community in which it finds itself. The Olympics brought sports and competition to the local area, and we shall seek to do the same here with Sync.

“We are aiming to bring in live music, stand up comedy, corporate events, and mainstream events - it is not intended merely to be a nightclub.

“There is nothing currently like it in the Stratford area, and with the regeneration, I believe, as a resident myself, the area needs something to call its own to be proud of.

“We have Westfield for shopping, and Vue and the Picture House for film. We have nothing of this size for live music and stand up comedy.

“Other venues of this ilk (Koko in Camden, Indigo2 at the O2, the Hammersmith Apollo) make their local areas proud, as they bring big names and famous faces to their own local patch - Sync will aim to do the same.”

The Stratford Rex, which opened in 1896 as the Borough Theatre and Opera House, was reclaimed by Newham Council in 2010 after its tenants, who used it as a nightclub, fell behind with rent payments.

The venue was used as a cinema, bingo hall and night club since 1933.

When Enplex Limited put forward plans to re-open the derelict building before the council there were objections from people worried that it would encourage crime and antisocial behaviour, littering and car parking problems.

Residents opposed to its re-opening told the licensing sub-committee of the noise, litter and acr parking problems they endured when events were held at the Stratford Rex.

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