Hackney Empire will be flying the flag for London at this year’s UK Theatre Awards after being chosen as one of the 12 winners of the My Theatre Matters! Most Welcoming Theatre Award 2015 in association with Smooth Radio.
The east London venue, which is renowned for its annual festive pantomime, joins 11 other theatres from across the UK to fight it out for the crown of the ultimate champion at the awards on 18 October.
Hackney Empire’s fellow competitors, which include venues from Devon to Scotland, comprise Romford’s Brookside Theatre, Buxton Opera House and Pavilion Arts Centre, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, Theatre By The Lake, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, the Marlowe Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Newcastle’s New Vic Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.
More venues than ever before signed up to take part in this year’s award, with 256 theatres competing for the coveted title.
Talking about the public-voted prize, UK Theatre’s President Rachel Tackley said: “We have been delighted to see the tremendous level of support for theatres across the United Kingdom. Theatres play a hugely valuable role in our local communities and this vote, along with the My Theatre Matters! campaign, provides a platform for the public to tell their stories about how important their local venue is to them.”
The overall winner of the My Theatre Matters! Most Welcoming Theatre Award will be announced at the UK Theatre Awards ceremony in October, when nominees and special guest presenters gather at the historic Guildhall for the prestigious prize-giving.
Nominees for the other prestigious accolades include Imelda Staunton who, following her 2012 win for Sweeney Todd, will be hoping to take home the coveted Best Performances in a Musical accolade for her role in current West End hit Gypsy. For a full list of the 2015 nominations, read our story here.