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Hackney Empire

Theatre, Off-West End Hackney
4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
hackneyempire_Nick Ballon.jpg
© Nick Ballon
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.


Venue name: Hackney Empire
Address: 291 Mare St
E8 1EJ
Transport: Rail: Hackney Central Overground
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  • Stand-up Tuesday August 27 2019
  • Stand-up Friday September 27 2019
  • Stand-up Friday October 18 2019
  • Stand-up Friday November 8 2019
  • Panto Saturday November 23 2019 - Sunday January 5 2020

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

Hackney Empire is a historical building & a cultural hub, famous for its pantos. Musicals, children's plays & comedy shows are also staged here.

I went to Hackney Empire for the first time two weeks ago and I was completely unimpressed with the venue, The concert I went to see was amazing, but that was mainly due to the artist and the audience, and had nothing to do with the surroundings. To put it bluntly this place needs a MAJOR face lift. We had really good seating but the chairs were filthy, and the carpet we stood on was wet and sticky with some unidentifiable grime. Yes, the walls are pretty and it has some level of old school chic about it, but since I wasn't sitting or standing on the walls this wasn't particularly helpful.

This is not somewhere I would be eager to go back to.

Seen lots of great stuff there this year including Opera, Music, Theatre and of course the brilliant Panto!

Love this venue. Have been a couple of times to see BBC Friday night is music night and have been thoroughly pleased both times. Beautiful decor, friendly staff and fantastic bar. Can't wait to go again.

moderatorStaff Writer

Worth a visit just for the venue - in fact during a fairly dull gig a while back I found looking around the incredibly intricate period auditorium to be infinitely more interesting than the band I had gone to see.

Five friends and I went to see THE NHS IN STITCHES show there recently. We were very dissapointed in the seating in the gallery, as it was just a bench with no back support and no space to stretch arthritic legs. The show and the decor was great, but as five out of six of us are dissabled we felt the seating was totally unfit for the dissabled and that the theatre should have warned people about this. My partner had a very swollen back after sitting on that bench for several hours.

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.

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