Save Hackney Empire campaign launched

Clive Rowe (left) in panto at Hackney Empire

Olivier award-winning actor and West End musical star Clive Rowe has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help London’s Hackney Empire survive the impact Covid-19 lockdown has had on its finances.

Famed dame

Clive Rowe has starred in over 14 of Hackney Empire’s pantomimes and is supported in the campaign by Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville, award-winning actor Richard Wilson and journalist Robert Peston.

The crowdfunding campaign aims to raise over £50,000 in a public appeal and hopes to attract donations from £10. Although it is a registered Charity, the 1300 seater Hackney Empire relies heavily on box office for over 85% of its funding. Now, with lockdown easing, theatres – which rely on bringing large numbers of people together – remain under threat. Hackney Empire is appealing to its audiences to help ensure that it can re-open its doors again in the future.

Historic home of entertainment

The Grade II* listed venue was built in as a music hall in 1901, designed by prolific theatre architect Frank Matcham. It saw performances from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields, Stanley Holloway, Stan Laurel, Marie Lloyd and Julie Andrews. The venue became a television studio in the ’50s and then a bingo hall. It was saved from demolition in the mid ’80s, and has since become particularly known for its engagement with local youth, and its very popular annual pantomime.

Clive Rowe said, 

Hackney Empire is an incredibly special place for me.  It brings people and communities together like no other venue I’ve experienced and its 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.’

For more information, visit Save Hackney Empire.

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