Your reports Find reports Hackney Empire – not just for pantos? Hackney Empire – not just for pantos? Convener(s): Nicola Stanhope Participants: Louise, Gary, Mark, Ed, Jo , Hugh Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: HACKNEY EMPIRE JUST DOES PANTOMIMES Oh no it doesn’t! Oh yes it does! OH NO IT DOESN’T! How to use keep the Empire alive and relevant in the 21st Century 1300 seat Frank Matcham theatre Proscenium staging/orchestra pit In Central Hackney Ideas/thoughts: Arts Council support has not in the past forced HE to shoe-horn the wrong sort of programming in – but what is the right sort of programming? Keep the theatre open as much as possible and maximise use of the space around it: Open every Sunday night for variety/cabaret/comedy – that’s the type of work that the space best lends itself to Explore opportunities for regular televised shows (e.g. Russell Brand at Hackney Empire is STILL shown on TV all the time) Use the space for what is looks best there: Comedy/variety (see above) Dance Musicals (e.g. bring in shows with a following – “Dreamboats and Petticoats” mentioned as an example Recession programming – people just want to have fun The Empire Café – all day food and drink offering – all about creating a buzz Encourage use of Town Hall square for events (e.g. tie in with Street Dance Festival in theatre itself) Ocean – over the road – re-opening – an opportunity not a threat Complement other local arts offerings – bring them into the space and/or share marketing but don’t do stuff that others do better (e.g. complement don’t imitate the Arcola offering) Is this now Hackney Central’s time to come good? Stoke Newington-Liverpool Street corridor is working but Hackney Central-Clapton regeneration just not getting there. Can HE make this happen or just wait to be beneficiary if it does? What became of the studio space? Can that be re-opened? For what sort of work? Take a leaf out of Theatre Royal Stratford East’s book and perform on the stage area as a studio – i.e. audience on stage How to harness the energy of local creatives? Hackney is cheap enough for them to be able to live there – make a virtue of that! Community plays/youth theatre/TIE/local interests groups – all on HE’s agenda Call on support from the network of theatre professionals who have a fondness for HE for any reason Grow the concept of Seasons – lots of niche ideas; need some sort of linking Speak to LOCOG – get something out of 2012!