A glorious Victorian gem of a theatre. You won't see a better example of a Matcham designed theatre. This should be cherished more than those in the West End. It's a shame about it's listings. There isn't enough main stream or community theatre being done here. The cut backs by the local council and by the arts council have hit it hard. However, it does give us one of the best traditional pantos each year. Please look after it. We can't lose such a great building.
© Nick Ballon
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Sep 25 2012
Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Marie Lloyd all trod Hackney's boards during its time as a music hall. It's since been used as a television studio and, rather quaintly, as a bingo hall, before opening as a theatre proper in 1986. Today, it's a much-loved East End institution whose pantos have become the stuff of legend. High art does feature (the English Touring Opera presented Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' in 2009) as does issue-heavy theatre, often with an emphasis on class and multiculturalism. But the focus tends to be on fun: comedy, children's theatre and music all featuring large on its programme. Tours of the Grade II-listed auditorium take place during Open House London weekend in September.
What's on at Hackney Empire
Stand-up, Solo shows, Big-name talent
- Critics' choice
'QI' and 'Jonathan Creek' star Alan Davies is back on the road following his hugely successful 'Life is Pain' tour in 2012. That tour was his first foray into stand-up for 12 years, but it didn't show – he was on terrifically funny form. Now he's back...
Fringe, Circuses, Drama
Zippos Circus perform a new version of their show, complete with wheel of death, spinning acrobats, knife throwing, high wire and the terrifying globe of death, where motorcyclists speed around a steel cage.
Stand-up, Solo shows, Big-name talent, Musical comedy
Award-winning whimsical Irishman David O'Doherty heads to the Hackney Empire with his new show 'David O'Doherty Has Checked Everything. He'll do some standing-up, sitting down, and songs from a small plastic 1980s keyboard. He'll charm you silly.
Kids' theatre, Kids' theatre, Off-West End
- Rating: 4/5
- Critics' choice
I counted a dozen spectacularly daft costume changes for Clive Rowe, as London’s greatest pantomime dame returns after three Christmases away. But the joy of the Hackney panto is that while critics know Rowe’s reputation, and that this ‘Mother Goose’...
Things to do
An enchanted forest, magical beanstalk and oompah performances aren't what you'd expect to stumble across on Mare Street this winter, but this immersive bar in the Hackney Empire promises all three. The folk and fairy tale-themed pop-up will be serving...