|Address||275 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NL|
|Location||King's Cross, London|
|Former name(s)||King's Cross Cinema|
The Scala was originally built as a cinema to the designs of H Courtney Constantine, but construction was interrupted by the First World War and it spent some time being used to manufacture aircraft parts, and as a labour exchange for demobilised troops before opening in 1920 as the King's Cross Cinema. The cinema changed hands and names several times through its life and also changed focus, ranging from main-stream to art-house to adult film over 70 years, as well as spending a short time as a primatarium.
In the summer of 1972, the Scala (then known as the King's Cross Cinema) played host to the one and only UK concert by Iggy & The Stooges (who were in London recording the album Raw Power.) All photographs later featured in the Raw Power album sleeve (including the famous cover shot) were taken that night during the show.
Intended to be an alternative National Film Theatre, the Scala Film Club (which took its name from Scala House on Tottenham Street) moved to this venue in 1981. However, when the Scala showed the film A Clockwork Orange, then withdrawn from UK distribution, the copyright holder Warner Brothers sued at Kubrick's insistence, and won. As a result, Scala was almost bankrupt and closed in 1993; however, the club was re-opened in 1999. The cinema had been refitted, with the lower seating area incorporating the new stage, DJ booth and dancefloor, while the upper seating area incorporated a second room and a DJ booth.
Scala now plays host to many eclectic club nights, and has featured live music acts including Epica, The Libertines, Deftones, Outlandish, London Elektricity, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Big Talk, Moby, HIM, Wheatus, Adam Ant, Sheryl Crow, Sara Bareilles, Gavin DeGraw, Ray LaMontagne, Super Furry Animals, The Cutaway, The Chemical Brothers, Avril Lavigne, Enslaved, Gorgoroth, Lacuna Coil, Maroon 5, The Script, Melanie C and Gabrielle Aplin. The venue is also used for a party in which representatives of that year's Eurovision Song Contest get a chance to perform live and promote their song in the hope that Britons will vote for them.
Past club nights have included Simon Hobart's Popstarz before it moved to Sin, which was closed down due to crossrail and has now settled in the Den, which was formally known as the end.
Notes and references
- Scala London | Scala's history
- Stephen Woolley "Beyond B-movies: Recreating The Scala's movie mecca", The Guardian, 5 August 2011
- Tony Paley "Cinema of sin: London's old Scala picturehouse", The Guardian, 31 July 2011