Support Us


Not many people realise that Hackney Empire is a charity set up and maintained by local residents. In 2017, only 16% of our income was from public funding. Just to keep the doors open we need to generate at least £3 million income each year.

With ticket sales making up just 60% of our budget, it is the generosity of our supporters that allows us to continue our work on the stage and in the community.

Please read more about why we need your support, how you can get involved, and about our ongoing fundraising efforts.



Learn how your support makes difference here.
Keep Our History Alive

Commissioned by Oswald Stoll, the prominent theatre impresario, Hackney Empire was built by renowned architect Frank Matcham in 1901. It was one of the first theatres to have electric lights, a built-in projector box, and central heating.

Now it is the only surviving purpose-built theatre in Hackney.

The Grade II listed building was restored in 2004 preserving historically significant details of its façade and interior, and blending the grandeur of yesteryear with the technology of today. It’s amazing.

But heritage comes at a price.

Every year we need £500,000 to keep the building in a good state of repair yet only 15% of the theatre’s income is from public funding and ticket sales only cover 60% of the true seat cost.

We need your help to ensure your Hackney Empire remains in the heart of Hackney.

Keep history alive.

Make Great Theatre Together

What do Maria Callas, Louis Armstrong, Marie Lloyd, Dawn French, Eddie Izzard and Lenny Henry have in common?

They’ve all taken the stage at Hackney Empire. World-class performers and renowned companies such as the English National Opera have come here to East London.

Laughter and joy. Reflection and debate. Puccini and Pinter. For 115 years the transformative power of theatre and music has vastly enriched the lives of this culturally diverse community.

With more than 80% of artists and audiences from ethnically, culturally and socially diverse backgrounds there is no comparable theatre in London.

Yet still, not many people know that Hackney Empire is a charity. Each year we need to raise £1,000,000 so we can continue to make great theatre while keeping ticket prices low enough to reach as many people as possibleible.

Invest in Hackney

Grants from trusts and foundations play a crucial role in enabling us to:

  • Commission and co-produce new work
  • Enhance our technical and production facilities
  • Engage hard-to-reach and at-risk young people and their families in creative activities
  • Support the development of emerging talent through workshop, work placement and performance opportunities
  • Offer formal apprenticeships to trainee production staff and artisans
  • Make performances affordable and accessible for hard-to-engage audiences

Some of our past and existing partnerships include Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation’s support for Artist Development Programme, The Monument Trust’s support for workshop and performance space at Empire 2, and Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation’s support for Emerging Talent Programme.

In 2010 Hackney was the second most deprived local authority in England. In 2015 it was eleventh.

Hackney is coming up in the world and the Empire is at the heart of that regeneration, contributing an estimated £4.5 million to the local economy each year.

If you live or work in Hackney you will appreciate the theatre’s totemic significance at the cultural, historical, commercial and architectural hub of East London.

It’s not merely an attraction, with over 100,000 visitors last year; it’s a symbol of hope, of what can be achieved in even the most neglected areas. Arts and culture not only give the people of Hackney a voice, they nourish hearts and souls.

A thriving performing arts centre is crucial for Hackney’s economic vitality, creating jobs, inspiring enterprise and attracting skills. By championing diversity and social justice we also bring a new perspective to the regeneration argument.



Hackney Empire is more than a theatre, it’s a positioning statement.

We appreciate the transformative power of music, drama and comedy and welcome like-minded corporations who wish to partner with us, whether it’s sponsoring ground-breaking performances or helping achieve our philanthropic goals in arts education and community engagement.

You know our audience. 150,000 fans and growing at last count. You are our audience. Together we can make a great team.

Our sponsorship packages are highly flexible and can be tailored to your needs. Benefits include:

  • On-site activations and direct business-to-consumer exposure
  • Visibility and company branding in London-wide, UK-wide or global print, press, and electronic materials
  • Complimentary tickets and special event invitations, including employee reward schemes
  • VIP privileges for company executives
  • Corporate entertaining in Hackney Empire’s historic setting

Please call +44 (0)20 8510 4500 or contact us  by email: to discuss your corporate partnership needs.


Support Creative Diversity

A theatre is nothing without an audience. A stage is silent without its players.

We can all play a part in the future of arts in London by backing the educational work done by Hackney Empire.

Arts education and participation can play a key role in developing positive social skills, creative thinking and problem solving. They encourage social mobility and prevent criminality.

More than 500 at-risk children and young people from across North and East London take part in weekly after-school activities run by Hackney Empire.

We’re also nurturing stars of the future with our Emerging Talent programmes. Every year 10 to 20 of our alumni go on to study at top arts schools around the world or successful careers in creative industries.

That’s something we can all be proud of. As long as it continues. Each year we need to raise £300,000 so we can inspire the young people who will shape our future.


Only art can achieve immortality but your legacy could help secure the long-term future of a thriving performance arts centre.

Gifts in Wills are an important source of income and one way of ensuring your memorable experiences at Hackney Empire can be shared by future generations.

Legacy gifts are exempt from Inheritance Tax and could reduce the amount of tax payable out of your estate.

We appreciate that leaving a gift in your Will or giving in memory of a loved one is a very personal and important decision. If you would like to discuss leaving a legacy please contact us or call   +44 (0)20 8510 4500