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Brick and stone façade to the Broadway in Jacobean style with tower. Shops on Broadway front. BOROUGH THEATRE in large letters at high level. The corner entrance composition was massively altered in the cinema conversion and now presents an almost plain rendered face. Deprived of its main architectural emphasis, what is left of Matcham’s external design seems lacking in coherence. Nothing of his remains internally where the building must be judged as a creation of 1933. Its present form results from its purchase by Sokoloff and Pearl of Essell Cinemas, when George Coles was commissioned to transform it into a super-cinema. The auditorium was reconstructed in 1933 in his characteristic Art Deco style to provide a two-tier auditorium with projection box and two cafes, leaving full stage facilities behind a larger proscenium. An organ was installed. Opened as the Rex with a policy of cine-variety. Installation of Cinemascope in 1958, however, covered the orchestra pit and removed the stage. Years of closure from 1975 and a fire that year led to increasing fears that the building would never re-open. However, supported by the London Borough of Newham and Stratford City Challenge, the exterior has been restored in its curious mixture of styles. The auditorium has been lavishly restored. The fly tower and stage were demolished, and a new high-tec stage built to serve the huge dance floor which now covers the stalls area. Re-opened in 1997 as a live music venue, the balcony has been reseated to modern standards to accommodate use as a cinema. ‘Fun’ bars have been created in different styles. It was again refurbished and reopened in 2009, as a short-lived music venue. In 2012 it reopened as a nightclub, Sync London, closing in March 2013. The building still seems to have some limited theatre potential.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1896 - 1933: Theatre
Current state
Current use
Dark (previously live music venue with cinematograph licence and nightclub)
361-365 Stratford Broadway, London, Newham, E15 4QZ, England
Further details
Other names
Borough , Sync London , Rex Music Arena
  • Owner/Management: Became Fredericks Electic Cinemas
  • 1895 Owner/Management: Fredericks (Albert Fredericks of Stratford Royal)
  • 1896 Design/Construction:
    Frank Matcham
    - Architect
  • 1896 Design/Construction:
  • 1896 - 1933 Use: Theatre
  • 1906 Alteration: altered
    H Pike
    - Architect
  • 1910 Alteration: projection facilities installed
    J M H Gladwell
    - Architect
  • 1933 Owner/Management: Essell Cinemas
  • 1934 Alteration: completely reconstructed internally as a cinema; rounded corner sweep in 1930s style created, covering Jacobean tower
    George Coles
    - Architect
  • 1958 Alteration: stage removed
    - Architect
  • 1969 Owner/Management: Star
  • 1969 Alteration: converted to bingo
    - Architect
  • 1997 Owner/Management: London Borough of Newham, owners Run by The Rex, Stratford
  • 1997 Alteration: Cole’s 1933 interior restored; balcony reseated (for cinema use); fly tower dismantled; stage modified
    Barry Reynolds Associates
    - Architect
  • Capacity
  • Capacity
    1933: 1889
    1958: 1779
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Pros flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 40ft 1997: 36ft Width: 65ft 1997: 62ft
Proscenium width: 30ft; 1933 & 97: 36ft
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: 1997: none