Hackney Empire has played a leading role in East London life since 1901. In 2001, the theatre closed for Lottery-funded restoration work to be carried out on the building. The refurbishment of this beautiful listed building has improved a very important cultural hub of the community and preserved a significant part of the area’s heritage.
The bigger and better facilities opened in January 2004 and the Hackney Empire has seen a big increase in visitor numbers and productions since then. From 2005 to the present there have been over 800,000 attendees and over 1200 productions. As well as its loyal local audiences, it has also attracted people from further afield with 60 percent of its audience coming from outside Hackney.
The Empire’s audience is also hugely diverse with 35 percent from black or minority ethnic communities and is synonymous with engaging with diverse artists and audiences across a wide range of genres and styles.
The venue is more easily accessible to disabled artists and audiences and has step free access in the auditorium and backstage. It also provides performances in British Sign Language and has inclusive programmes for young people with learning disabilities.
The Empire nurtures new talent through its flagship Artist Development Programme (ADP), which gives emerging young talent skills and training for working in a professional environment. Millions of people saw the success of the scheme for themselves when ADP graduate Jermain Jackman won The Voice on BBC One earlier this year.
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