Local teenagers to get free tickets to four Hackney Empire productions  

‘A Direct Message’ Live Theatre Production from Hackney Empire’s Artist Development Programme. Pic: Fabrice Bourgelle.

Young people in Hackney will get free tickets to four productions at the much loved and historic Hackney Empire over the next year.

The ‘Entry for All’ scheme for young people aged 14-18 is being funded by the local council’s Hackney Community Fund which support arts organisations.

Yamin Choudury, artistic director and joint chief executive at Hackney Empire tweeted: “Over the next 12 months, Hackney Empire will be running four programs, where every single one of the 1272 seats in the theatre are absolutely free for young people from Hackney between the ages of 14 to 18 years old.” 

Choudury told Eastlondonlines: “[The] programmes will be announced on a rolling basis, expected in February, October and December 2023. We just launched with a free showing of Mother Goose…for children and young people from across Hackney, working with young people’s organisations (charities, refugees etc.) in the borough.” 

‘Mother Goose’ started on from November 19 and run to December 31. It is a pantomime taking inspiration from a production staged 120 years ago. 

‘Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster’ Live Theatre Production at Hackney Empire.

The Hackney Community Fund, funded by Hackney Council, offered £45,000 to the theatre to carry out the scheme. In commemorating the 120th anniversary of the theatre, part of the funding grants pays for 4,000 free tickets. 

The Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, was delighted that the fund will make “innovation” in Hackney a “reality”.

A spokesperson from Hackney Council told ELL: “The Hackney Community Fund is raised from a levy [the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy] placed on development across the borough, it’s all collected into one fund for community organisations and projects.”  

He added: “The main crux of it is…breaking down barriers to participation in culture and the arts. It is obviously quite a big problem in Hackney.” 

Elly Rothnie, head of development at the theatre, said: “The Hackney Community fund means ‘Entry for All’ can continue to support Hackney Empire’s commitment to representation and inclusion, in an effort to bridge a widening gap in cultural engagement and access, a gap that the pandemic has only amplified.” 

The fund gives £500,000 to various arts organisations in support of diverse culture. The other eight projects eligible for this fund include the redevelopment of the St Barnabas Church gardens by Core Arts, aiming to improve adult mental health in the area. As well as a touring trailer stage organised by New Future Collective, bringing interactive roadshows in Hackney parks, playgrounds, and streets. 

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