A campaign to help Hackney Empire survive the impact of Covid-19 has raised over £40,000 in the week since it launched. The Crowdfunding campaign hosted by the Mayor of London Pay It Forward initiative went live last Thursday and has attracted support from over 800 individuals.
It aims to raise at least £100,000 towards ongoing running costs to safeguard Hackney Empire’s future and has been backed to date by Hackney Empire Patron and panto legend Clive Rowe, comedian Alan Davies, actors Sam West, Richard Wilson, Arabella Weir and Sylvester McCoy and journalist Robert Peston amongst many others.
Donations have ranged from £5 – £5,000 and for gifts of £500 and above donors can dedicate a seat in the venue’s Grade II*listed auditorium.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created huge financial challenges for Hackney Empire as over 85% of its funding comes from box office and earned income. However, throughout the pandemic Hackney Empire has continued to work with young people by taking its activity online, providing support and engagement for hundreds of young people made more isolated by the lockdown.
Earlier this week members of the Hackney Empire team came together in a special socially distanced photograph to support the venue’s crowdfunding campaign #SaveHackneyEmpire.
The striking image, taken by David Monteith-Hodge, features Artistic Director Yamin Choudury, staff members and young people who have taken part in Hackney Empire’s award-winning Creative Futures programmes on the stage in front of an empty auditorium. All participants were wearing facemasks and maintained social distance at all times.
Artistic Director Yamin Choudury said:
“We have been overwhelmed with the phenomenal success to date, of our #SaveHackneyEmpire crowdfunding campaign. It’s given us the chance to reach people from across the Capital, the country and in some cases from across the world, who love this incredible organisation and venue, and who want to help us keep it open.
The pay it forward scheme has enabled us to harness the huge amounts of goodwill that there is for Hackney Empire and turn that into the funding, that will help to see us through these uncertain times. It’s giving us the best chance of reopening our doors for music, for comedy, for theatre, for young people and of course for Panto in the years to come.”