Hackney Empire announces plans for 2021; Leona Lewis becomes a patron
The Hackney Empire team has announced plans to reopen; in anticipation of the iconic East London Hall’s 120th anniversary in the fall, continuing to focus on its commitment to community and youth advocacy, alongside an exciting public work program in the fall.
World-famous Hackney-born singer Leona Lewis will cement a long-standing relationship with Hackney Empire by officially becoming a godmother of the venue. With a focus on the Creative Futures program, she will continue to provide mentorship and support to young people supported by the site. Since December 2020, Leona has been working closely with a group of 25 young artists and musicians aged 15 to 25 from East and North London. Starting with an intimate question-and-answer session for the group on Zoom, she shared her own experience and advice, from her childhood in Hackney, to winning X-Factor and recording her next LA release, her inspiration. for songwriting and how she deals with nerves. Since then, Leona has run a series of workshops for the group providing mentorship and personal advice to each of the young artists, as well as guests from the music industry, including voice coaching and writing lessons. songs with Yvie Burnett and Autumn Rowe to support their artistic development. These sessions are accessible to the public on Youtube .
As a patron, Leona will join Clive Rowe, an Olivier Award winning actor whose name is synonymous with Hackney Empire who has appeared in more than 14 of his acclaimed pantomimes.
Leona Lewis said: “I am honored to become a patron saint of Hackney Empire, one of London’s most loved and magical places. To me it feels like coming home – it’s on the legendary stage of Hackney Empire I won the first competition that launched me on my journey as a professional artist, this is where I launched my Echo album, and is home to incredible memories from generations of my friends and my family. Most recently during the pandemic it has been a tremendous pleasure and inspiration to work with young people from Hackney Empire’s Creative Futures Program. I look forward to continuing this work as a Patron – to get involved in creatively and help amplify the voices of some of our amazing young artists. “
In May, Alter Ego 2021 marked a decade to nurture, advocate and promote the exceptional young talent that exists in East London. Presented in partnership with Discover Young Hackney; Alter Ego has established itself, for over 10 years, as the main annual showcase for young artists from East and North London, regularly selling over 1,200 tickets; often more than 85% of them are bought by 15-19 year olds. In 2021, Hackney Empire continues to build on the success of previous years, celebrating the aspirations, talent and creativity of young Londoners. The filmed performance – which will be released to the public on July 23 – will feature performances by some of the talented young artists who have been finalists over the years.
In August, Hackney Empire will present ADP 2021: Romeo & Juliet (Title to be confirmed); The Artist Development Program (ADP) is a two-week summer program that gives a company of 40 young artists, aged 13 to 19, the opportunity to create an original piece of musical theater. Selected through an audition process and guided by some of the best professionals in the industry; young comedians, writers, musicians, dancers, designers, singers and rappers develop their practice to compose, write, choreograph, design and perform their own original musical play created in just twelve days. This year’s performance will be directed by Hackney Empire Artistic Director Yamin Choudury and Kane Husbands, with Ty Lowe as Music Director. Kane is the founder and artistic director of The Pappy Show, as well as a host, director, performer and creator specializing in movement, dance, ensemble and physical theater, and a speaker at Central Saint Martins. The screenplay will be written by Sumah Ebelé, a 21-year-old emerging actor and writer from east London who has previously worked in theaters such as Hackney Empire, Bush Theater, Royal Court Theater and Omnibus Theater.
ADP will run from July 31 to August 14 and perform on the main stage on August 14. The hearings will take place on June 26 and 27.
BEAM 2021 showcase visits Hackney Empire in September, bringing together presentations of new musicals in development, masterclasses, networking opportunities and panel discussions.
September at Hackney Empire will also present the successful podcast The Socially Distant Sports Bar: Live! for the very first time. Join Elis, Mike and Steff and be outside as the team discuss great sports stories such as wooing an optician with a camping stove in Bath; lunch with Joe Frazier and Nigel Havers at a hotel near Maesteg; the social history of Carmarthenshire 1895-1915; and X-rated trips to Wimbledon in the 1980s (not to watch tennis). They can even talk about a real sport. Followed by Sindhu Vee’s brand new show on The Hair We Want, The Friends We Have, and the Big Difference Between Virus and Viral. Expect an “candid, outspoken and funny stand-up” (Evening Standard) from this Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee for Best Newcomer.
October begins with the fall season’s repertoire of award-winning English touring opera Olivier; since 1979, the English Touring Opera has presented exceptional live productions, educational and community projects in more towns and villages than any other UK opera company. Reaching over 50,000 people per year with five stage productions and two specially commissioned operas for children and young people with special educational needs. In mid-October, Caribbean comedy king Oliver Samuels launches his brand new play Crazy But True, written by Oliver Samuels and Dennis Titus and directed by Samuels himself, with his classic training partner Volier “Maffy. Johnson, alongside Dennis Titus, Lakeisha Ellison and Malessa Vassell. October will also see the premiere of the new musical Vanara, a groundbreaking spectacle set in futuristic prehistory. Vanara combines an original and lush score with a fluid, cinematic narration and weaves together musical theater, contemporary dance, circus and multimedia innovation. The two-week opening at Hackney Empire will be followed by a UK tour slated for 2022.
2021 ends with Jack and the Beanstalk, November 20, 2021 – January 2, 2022 – “The dean of the ladies” (The Times) Clive Rowe returns to Hackney Empire this year for a sparkling new panto adventure! When the happy Jack is tempted to sell his family’s beloved cow for a bag full of magic beans, he finds himself embroiled in an adventure of GIANT proportions. Join Jack on his journey on an enchanted Beanstalk as he attempts to outwit a rampaging giant, all with the help of his larger-than-life mother – Lady Trot. This year’s Jack and the Beanstalk production will welcome a fantastic new team to join Olivier Award-winning Clive Rowe, along with many familiar faces that make Hackney Empire’s panto one of the best in the country. The full creative team and cast will be announced in due course.
Artistic Director Yamin Choudury said: “The last sixteen months have been some of the most difficult 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 for all of us. Jo and I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who supported us during this time and our amazing team who worked tirelessly to ensure that Hackney Empire was always open, accessible and there for young people in every way. last year, and that we are now in the best position to welcome our incredible audiences again after the summer.
Art and culture as a tool to entertain, inform, respond and share has never seemed more vital, more urgent, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our communities can access great people. and stories – however they are told.
We missed you and look forward to seeing you very soon “