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Hackney Empire announces reopening plans as Leona Lewis becomes a patron

hackney empire

Hackney Empire has announced its full reopening plans for the rest of 2021.

The London venue has also revealed that singer Leona Lewis is to cement her long standing relationship with the iconic East London venue by officially becoming a Patron, supporting and mentoring the young people in the Hackney Empire: Creative Futures programme.

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Leona Lewis said: “I am honoured to become a Patron of Hackney Empire, one of the London’s most loved and magical venues. For me this feels like homecoming – it was on Hackney Empire’s legendary stage I won the first competition which started me on my journey as a professional artist, it’s the place I launched my album Echo, and is home to amazing memories of generations of my friends and family.

Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis

“More recently during the pandemic it’s been a huge pleasure and inspiration to work with young people from Hackney Empire’s Creative Futures programme. I’m looking forward to continuing that work as a Patron – getting involved creatively and helping to amplify the voices of some of our amazing young artists.”

Hackney Empire reopening plans

Hackney Empire’s reopening will begin digitally with a filmed performance of East London’s renowned talent showcase for young people, Alter Ego. The performance – to be released publicly on 23 July – will feature performances by some of the talented young artists that have been finalists over the years.

In August, Hackney Empire will present a new piece inspired by Romeo & Juliet as part of its Artist Development Programme, giving a company of 40 young artists, aged 13-19, the opportunity to create an original piece of musical theatre. The performance will be directed by Hackney Empire Artistic Director Yamin Choudury and Kane Husbands, with Ty Lowe as Musical Director. The script will be written by Sumah Ebelé, a 21-year-old emerging actor and writer from East London.

In September, the 2021 BEAM Showcase will visit, bringing together presentations of new musicals in development, masterclasses, networking opportunities and panel discussions.

September at Hackney Empire will also feature the smash hit podcast The Socially Distant Sports Bar: Live! for the very first time, followed by Sindhu Vee’s brand-new show about the hair we want, the friends we have, and living the vast difference between virus and viral.

October begins with the Autumn season repertoire by Olivier Award winning English Touring Opera while in mid-October the Caribbean King of Comedy Oliver Samuels launches his brand new block play Crazy But True. October will also see the premiere of new musical Vanara, a revolutionary show set in a futuristic prehistory.

Celebrations for the venue’s 120th anniversary will kick off in November – with further details to be announced.

2021 ends with Jack and the Beanstalk, running from 20 November 2021 to 2 January 2022. Clive Rowe returns to Hackney Empire this year for a sparkling new panto adventure! When happy-go-lucky Jack is tempted into selling his family’s beloved cow for a bag full of magic beans, he finds himself tangled in an adventure of GIANT proportions.

Artistic Director Yamin Choudury. Picture credit: Katherine Leesdale
Artistic Director Yamin Choudury. Picture credit: Katherine Leesdale

Artistic Director Yamin Choudury said: “The last sixteen months have been some of the most challenging we have experienced in recent memory, and what has kept many of us going is the idea of what those first nights back are going to feel like for us all. Jo and I couldn’t be more thankful to all of those who have supported us over this time and to our incredible team that have worked tirelessly to make sure that Hackney Empire was always open, accessible and there for young people in every way over the last year, and that we are now in the best possible position to welcome our incredible audiences back after the summer.

“Art and Culture as a tool to entertain, inform, respond and share has never felt more vital, more urgent, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our communities are able to access excellent people and stories – however they are told.

“We’ve missed you and we can’t wait to see you very soon”

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