HACKNEY Empire is the borough’s oldest theatre and an iconic local landmark.
Built in 1901, by internationally-acclaimed architect Frank Matcham, it attracted some of the globe’s most renowned performers in its first 50 years of life: from Charlie Chaplin to Louis Armstrong.
The Hackney Empire also became the country’s first commercial television studio in 1956 and location for classic shows such as ‘Top Of The Pops’.
The theatre has faced many ups and downs during more than a century of existence, and been threatened with closure more than once. Residents and the wider theatrical community have always come together to save it however.
Following a major refurbishment in 2004, the heritage-listed venue has expanded its offer to world-class theatre, dance, live music, comedy and alternative acts, as well as a renowned panto, now a ritual of the London festive season.
With patrons including the late Harold Pinter, and performers from Russell Brand to the English Touring Opera, Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine, and Pete Doherty, the Empire continues to be a hub for local and international talent.
The venue also has a café/bar and runs behind-the-scenes theatre tours and youth arts programmes.
289 291 Mare Street,
Telephone: 020 8985 2424