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Hackney Empire’s Susie McKenna steps down after seven years

McKenna is taking a part-time role with Hackney Empire in order to work on other projects. Photo: Darren Bell
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Hackney Empire creative director Susie McKenna has stepped down from the role after seven years.

She will take on a new part-time role with the venue, titled executive creative producer, and will have a particular focus on developing work with black, Asian and minority ethnic talent as part of this.

In an email to colleagues, McKenna said her new position would allow her to pursue her freelance career as a director and writer, while still developing work for the theatre itself. The theatre said this role would see her “exploring new projects that are created by, or feature, BAME artists, as well as looking to develop younger early-career artists”.

McKenna said: “The venue has a reputation for high-quality popular entertainment and a vast community footprint with an outstanding outreach and artist development programme that has served Hackney and surrounding boroughs. My new role is an exciting opportunity to work with established and emerging diverse talent to tell stories that will celebrate and reflect the melting pot that is our London-wide audience.”

Hackney Empire chief executive Clarie Middleton said she was looking forward to working with McKenna on “the projects she will develop in her new role”.

The theatre said McKenna will write and direct the venue’s next pantomime, Cinderella. It added that its most recent pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, had a record number of first-time attendees, making up 64% of the audience.

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