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Susie McKenna at the Hackney Empire

Susie McKenna at the Hackney Empire

Meet the team: Susie McKenna

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson Published 28 November 2017

The brilliant Susie McKenna – currently starring as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella at the Hackney Empire, which she also directed and wrote – is a busy lady, and we were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon in her company as she talked about her love of pantomime, her home from home at the Empire, and where her journey with panto all began.

Cinderella marks the 19th pantomime that Susie McKenna has written and directed for the Hackney Empire, and this year features original music by Steven Edis. Together, the award-winning team has been the creative force behind one of London’s favourite pantomimes for nearly two decades, and will once again bring a classic story bang up to date. Check out our interview below.


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This Christmas, Harlem meets Hackney in the classic rags to riches tale of Cinderella. In true Hackney Empire style that brings West End value at East End prices, this magical, family pantomime will be packed with glittering sets, big song and dance numbers, slapstick comedy plus a flying horse, all played out in the beautiful Victorian Theatre.

Established West End performer Aisha Jawando (Motown the Musical, Beautiful) will be stepping into the glass slippers of the title role of Cinderella. She is joined by Hackney Empire pantomime legends Tony Whittle and Kat B as the Ugly Sisters. Peter Straker (Hair, Tommy) reprises the role of Baron Hardup, having last played the role in 2011, Darren Hart (Justin’s House, Gigglebiz) plays Buttons, writer and director McKenna (Cats, Ragtime) will also be taking on the role of Wicked Stepmother, and Krysten Cummings (RENT original cast) plays Fairy Godmother.

Cinderella plays at the Hackney Empire until 31 December 2017. You can book tickets through the venue’s website.


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