A west London landmark reopens its doors this weekend following a multi-million pound refurbishment.
The newly renamed Eventim Apollo, formerly the Hammersmith Apollo, on Queen Caroline Street, closed at the beginning of July as part of an ongoing building project that sees the 81-year-old venue return to its Art Deco roots.
The legendary venue, which has played host to such acts as Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen was bought by AEG Live and German ticket provider CTS Eventim AG in May last year from HMV who were selling their Live assets before going into administration earlier this year.
At the unveiling on Friday, ahead of Saturday's reopening, Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg expressed his enthusiasm for the venue.
He said: "We wanted to step into the London market, and how often do you get an opportunity buy a venue like this, and even put your name on it?"
The design by architects Foster Wilson sees the venue increase its capacity to 3655 seats, an increase of sixty whilst also increasing the available legroom by a few inches and improving visibility of the stage. At a standing gig the new building could accommodate as many as 5039 customers. There is also a pair of new disabled viewing areas to allow more music and comedy fans to enjoy the shows, replacing the old lifts with more user-friendly wheelchair ramps.
Colin Chapple, CEO of AEG said: "We’re at about 3600 seats now, and there’s not one sightline issue which is the important thing."
The refurbishment will also see the building return to its original green colour scheme and expose the intricate marble floor that was laid when the building opened. There has also been extensive modernisation of the bar areas.
The Gaumont Palace cinema opened in March 1932, before being renamed as the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962. The Grade II listed building reopened as the Apollo in the mid 90s and has been home to BBC’s comedy show Live at the Apollo since 2004.
The first show will be a sold-out gig by Disney teen-pop sensation Selena Gomez.