Who are we
The Temple of Art and Music (TAM) is more than just a music venue. The proceeds from tickets, food and drink help to support our artists. We are committed to nurturing new artists and musicians while also relaunching those who don't get the exposure they deserve.
The TAM is a concept that flourished from grief. Our founder, Sieng Van Tran, spent the 90s and 2000s in tech working with his brother, Tam, who was simultaneously studying internet law. “One of the areas Tam was passionate about was music and creating a fairer record label,” says Sieng. When the company was successfully sold to an investor and the brothers were out celebrating, Tam began feeling ill. Within weeks, his life was upended by a diagnosis of a brain-stem tumour. He was given a prognosis of three months. “I lived in the staff annexe at Guy’s Hospital so I could be with him,” says Sieng, “and while he never wanted to acknowledge or talk about not making it, one night he said that if he didn’t make it, I had to promise him something.”
That promise was to launch an arts/music/entertainment venue/concept designed as a complete online and offline ethical ecosystem, encompassing live and recorded music, merchandise, visual art and dining. In its first incarnation, it was launched in 2020 as Theatrery, a mashup of ‘theatre’ and ‘eatery’, finding its ideal home in the sprawling Mercato Metropolitano, in Elephant & Castle, London.
The Beginning of the TAM
Dana Gillespie first visited Theatrery in November 2020. “And,” she says, “the moment I walked in I thought, ‘This is really something special’. It affected me deeply. I sang a couple of songs with the band, came home and something bothered me. I thought Theatrery was a terrible name. I thought ‘This place is so special, it should be called the Temple of Art and Music.’”.
Then it hit her; the acronym TAM. The connection to Sieng’s late brother was too obvious to ignore. “I immediately called Sieng to tell him.” So, thanks to the machinations of fate and serendipity, Theatrery reopened in summer 2021 as the TAM.
Mercato Metropolitano, which houses the TAM, sprang from an idea that began at the time of the 2015 Expo in Milan. Andrea Rasca took over an abandoned car park and built a street-food enterprise in three months, using no chemicals, no plastics, no sponsors, no WiFi and no advertising. Next, Andrea set his sights on London, leasing a space in Elephant & Castle.
Plans for the TAM include an in-house radio station and a record label which, will seek to treat musicians equitably and give them the freedom and support to do what they do best. There will be retail space at the TAM and some of the profits will be reinvested in community ventures, including a summer academy for children with theatre, art and music classes.
There will be employment opportunities at all levels for musicians and artists, so visitors may discover that the person bringing the drinks to their table is also a virtuoso bass player or drummer.