News: Hackney Empire to close

Thursday 24 September 2009

Hackney Empire will close after this year’s pantomime season in January 2010 for a period of around six to nine months. The majority of the staff will be made redundant. It was very nearly demolished in 2001, but saved by a high profile fund raising campaign led by Griff Rhys Jones, Harold Pinter and Alan Sugar and a subsequent £17 million refurbishment. In recent years its programme has featured comedy and music, an increasingly popular pantomime each year. Dance has featured in the mix with visits for the Moscow City Ballet last year and Ballet Black this summer.

Claire Middleton, who was brought as interim chief executive following the departure last month of chief executive Simon Thomsett told The Stage. “The idea is that we stop, take a breath and take stock of the way the organisation operates. We just need a little time to do that. There will be a major participation effort during that time and there will be a number of events on the stage. If we were to just keep on working, we wouldn’t have time to stocktake and perhaps look again at the way we sell tickets, different marketing techniques, different programming perhaps.” Read more in the Stage, 24 Sep 09

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