Hackney Empire is facing the greatest challenge of its 120-year history.
Situated at the heart of an extraordinary, diverse, yet economically challenged borough. Hackney Empire is one of the country's most iconic and best-loved venues. We are a registered charity and play a vital role in both our community and the UK's cultural landscape.
Closing the doors because of the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for Hackney Empire: over 85% of our funding comes from box office and earned income including from our legendary Pantomime which we have had to take the agonising decision to postpone this year because of the continued uncertainty around social distancing and audience safety..
We are doing everything we can to secure funding to safeguard Hackney Empire’s future but we need your help to ensure Hackney Empire can re-open in safer times.
Whether you've laughed at our legendary comedy nights, danced at our gigs, been to the opera, been inspired by our young artists, or whether you come each year to experience the magic of our pantomime then please help.
If you love Hackney Empire and what it means to its communities, then please donate. With your support Hackney Empire will re-open its doors and be there for all our audiences in the future.
"Hackney Empire was the most exciting audience I have ever played. People hanging over the balconies. It crossed every age and gender and race barrier." - Jonathan Kent, Director
Hackney Empire is one of the UK’s most beautiful and best-loved venues. Its model is built around ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience the transformative effects of arts and culture.
For over a century Hackney Empire has been a cultural home to generations, where people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities come together and, for decades Hackney Empire has been a platform where under-represented voices can be heard, and a space where isolated communities can be engaged.
"Hackney Empire is like my home." - Chifa, 19, Creative Futures Participant
Each year the Hackney Empire: Creative Futures programme works with over 4,000 young people aged 14 - 25 from some of London’s most marginalised communities, using arts and culture to break down barriers to access, raise aspirations, and change lives.
“It’s hard to be a part of something if you don’t see people that look like you when you go to these things. If Hackney Empire did not open their doors to me ten years ago I wouldn’t be standing here today." – Jasmyn, 21 Participation Officer, Royal Court Theatre
For over 10 years Hackney Empire has provided career pathways for emerging musicians, artists, creators and producers from underrepresented groups; ensuring that gifted and skilled young people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally.
Hackney Empire's legendary panto is one of the UK's best and best-loved, attracting audiences of over 50,000 annually. It is, for many, their first experience of live performance. As well as welcoming over 10,000 children from local schools, each year we provide hundreds of free tickets to local Housing Associations, Community Groups, Young Careers and our local Women and Children’s Refuges.
"Hackney Empire is a legendary venue which plays a key role in the the cultural, civic and economic life of its community. With an enviable track record in engaging young people from traditionally the most isolated and at-risk communities, Hackney Empire has expertise that we anticipate will be much-needed in the days to come. We are going to need arts and culture to inspire and reconnect us on the other side of this, and we’re especially going to need places like Hackney Empire – which are embedded in their communities and able to bring people together." Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
"Hackney Empire is an incredibly special place for me. It brings people and communities together like no other venue I’ve experienced and it’s atmosphere is legendary. Generations of children have had their first experience of live entertainment at its Panto and its work with young people has transformed thousands of lives.
Theatres have been hit incredibly hard by lockdown, but a world without them is unimaginable. Places like Hackney Empire must survive, and you can help to make sure they do. Please support this campaign if you can and ensure that Hackney Empire can open its doors again for Panto, for music, for comedy and for everyone." - Clive Rowe, Patron
"Please support this campaign if you can. Hackney Empire’s future, along with most other theatres in the country, is in real peril. You can help save it. A world without theatre is unthinkable but at the moment it is a real possibility. With your support Hackney Empire will re-open its doors and be there to create incredible experiences for all our audiences in the future. Thank you!" - Richard Wilson
"The Hackney Empire is facing a crisis in common with so many other venues. I’ve loved it since I first went there in 1988. My gran and grandad saw shows there over 50 years before. It truly is a special place with character, history & a vital role in the area. Donate if you can." - Alan Davies @alandavies1
“Hackney Empire is a magnificent historic gem, a wonderful community theatre and an important performing arts centre. It is invaluable and irreplaceable”. - Robert Peston
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.