July 29 2014 Latest news:

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A popular theatre and pub was damaged by fire yesterday.

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The blaze on the first floor of the The Hen and Chickens, in St Paul’s Road, Highbury, means the stage above the pub will be out of action for a while.

The flames took hold at about 5.10pm, but as the pub opened at 5pm there was only one customer.

A total of four people escaped to safety before four fire engines arrived at the scene.

Around 20 firefighters from Islington, Kingsland and Stoke Newington stations tackled the blaze, which was under control buy 6.30pm.

The second and third floors of the building were damaged by smoke. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The blaze means a run of the play Trailer Trash has been cut short. Writer and producer Mike Elliston said: “After much hard work and months of preparation, we are so disappointed that the run of Trailer Trash has been cut short midway through because of the fire at The Hen and Chickens.

“It’s a little early to say whether we can re-stage the show but we very much hope so and we are waiting to see what if

anything is salvageable. We had great reviews for the play but little did we know we would quite literally become the hottest ticket in town!”

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