- Shepherds Bush Empire
The Shepherds Bush Empire (the first word is sometimes spelled Shepherd's) is a music venue in
Shepherd's Bush, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, run by the Academy Music Group. It was built in 1903, as a music hall, and in 1953 became the BBC Television Theatre. Since 1991, it has operated as a music venue.
It was built in 1903 for impresario
Oswald Stoll, designed by theatre architect Frank Matcham. The first performers at the new theatre were The Fred KarnoTroupe. The Empire staged music-hall entertainments, such as variety performances and revues, until the early 1950s, by which time the popularity of these forms of entertainment was declining. [http://www.shepherds-bush-empire.co.uk/history.php "Venue History"] (Official site) accessed 19 August 2008]
In 1953, the Empire was sold to the
BBC, which put it to use as a television studio–theatre, renaming it the BBC Television Theatre. Among the programmes produced there were " Crackerjack", " Hancock's Half Hour", " The Old Grey Whistle Test", " That's Life!", " The Generation Game", " The Basil Brush Show", " Juke Box Jury", " This is Your Life", " Jim'll Fix It", almost all the BBC's light entertainment music shows, such as those starring Cliff Richard, Lulu, Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey, Vera Lynn, Harry Secombe, Petula Clark, as well as the UK's Eurovision Song Contestpreliminary heat, " A Song For Europe". In 1985, the theatre was turned over for exclusive use by " Wogan", which was broadcast 3 nights a week from the theatre. [http://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk/old%20bbc%20studios.htm#tv%20theatre "Unofficial History of Shepherds Bush Empire as BBC Television Theatre"] accessed 19 August 2008]
The BBC vacated the building in 1991. It was taken over and, in 1994, again became the Shepherds Bush Empire.
Since then, it has become best known as a music venue and has hosted such acts as Iron Maiden, Tool, Blur,
Kylie Minogue, Immortal Technique, Stroke Machine, Son Of Dork, The Wildheartsand Radiohead. The Empire has a capacity of only 2,000, but it has been chosen as a venue for small gigs by such leading performers as Neil Finn,Thunder, David Bowie, Phish, Elton John, Smashing Pumpkinsand The Rolling Stones. In retrospect the most talked about show to take place there happened on March 10, 2003, when Dixie Chickssinger Natalie Mainesmade her famously controversial remark against United StatesPresident George W. Bush.
Amy Winehouserecorded a show from her Back To Blacktour, which was later released as on DVD.
* [http://www.shepherds-bush-empire.co.uk/ Official site]
* [http://www.carling.com/music/venue/shepherds_bush.html Shepherds Bush Empire venue page]
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