The building was originally the Camden Theatre, which was one of the largest theatres in London outside the West End, with a capacity of 3,000. It was designed by the prolific theatre architect William Sprague and opened in December 1900 by Ellen Terry, then the most celebrated actress in England, who had lived in nearby Stanhope Street as a child. A local newspaper called the St Pancras Gazette commented as follows in a review of the Palace Theatre's production of an opera called The Geisha in 1901:
- It is a matter of special gratification that the opera was presented at our beautiful local theatre on a scale of magnificance and completeness which would do credit to a West End theatre, but this is nothing new at the Camden Theatre, being rather a continuation of the policy with which the proprietors started their enterprise, viz. to offer nothing to their patrons but standard work, which has received the unmistakable approval of critics and public.
Within a generation, London's local theatres were in rapid decline, and by 1924 the Camden was in use as a cinema. It survived the mid 20th century, when many similar buildings were demolished, including Camden Town's other theatre, the Bedford in Parkway, largely because it became a BBC radio theatre for a time. Programmes recorded there included the Goon Show. In the 1970s it became a live music venue, called The Music Machine, and in 1982 became the Camden Palace, and in 2003 or 2004 it was renamed once again as KOKO.
- Camden Town and Primrose Hill Past by John Richardson (1991). ISBN 0948667125
|Major London nightclub venues|