Hoxton Hall and Wilton's Music Hall are both much loved and much used dilapidated grande dames of the east end. Their amazing Victorian buildings are a blessing and a curse as they strive to provide stimulating and eclectic 21st century entertainment in c.150 year old venues.
Both have massive capital campaigns in hand but it's Hoxton Hall that Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has got behind with a grant of £200,000, which could lead to a major £2m more further down the line.
Poor old Wilton's need is dire, with 40% of the building unsafe and closed to the public, a leaking roof and crumbling brickwork. There's something magical about the place though, partly owing to its dereliction and ghostly sense of history. Disappointed to be rejected by HLF, Wilton's has vowed to fight on. Fortunately, it enjoys celebrity support - Simon Callow recently called it 'one of the most beautiful theatre spaces in the world' - and will certainly need it. Wilton's must raise £3.8m to enable the 'sympathetic repair' project necessary to stop the music hall closing its doors for good later this year.
Hoxton Hall meanwhile can start work on their preservation, restoration and modernisation programme with the development grant. They have up to 2 years to create their application for a full grant, which will ultimately enable them to extend their considerable community and youth arts activities as well as lead the way for the regeneration of Hoxton Street.