First ever ‘donation-powered’ concert planned for Hackney Empire

Hackney Empire, of Mare Street.

Hackney Empire, of Mare Street. - Credit: Archant

The first ever concert powered by donations from the audience as acts are live on stage, has been scheduled for next year, to help the Hackney Empire survive funding cuts.

It is hoped that stars who were born in East London, like Labrinth, Dizzee Rascal and Professor Green, Jess Glynne and Rudimental, might take part to reflect the roots of the East London music hall.

Each concert ticket will be sold for a minimum donation and the audience would have to then donate through text, tweets or email when acts are live on stage to keep the entertainment going.

The iconic theatre in Mare Street asked four PR agencies to pitch ideas for a campaign which would help fill a shortfall in funding because of a 30 per cent reduction in the grant it receives from Hackney Council.

The idea was to come up with a creative campaign that would not only raise much needed funds for the venue but would also create a PR moment to help cement Hackney Empire’s credentials as one of London’s top art venues.

Tin Man emerged triumphant with the successful One More Song’ idea.

The concert is pencilled in for mid-2016.

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Clarie Middleton, chief executive of the Hackney Empire said: “Hopefully artists that have been playing at Hackney and love Hackney will help us do it, it’s a novel idea and I don’t think it’s ever been done before.

The idea really grabbed us because it builds on something we ware good at, which is our music programme, plus it engages with our audience in new ways and has the potential to raise funds for us, it ticked all those boxes.

“We are looking to engage in new ways and digital is one of them.”

She continued: “We will lose 30% of our money from Hackney next year and I think it will go down over the years, I don’t blame Hackney for that, they have been extremely generous over the years in times of great strain and this is not a punitive cut, they just don’t have the money from the government.

“We are strong and stable but we need insurance policies and want to make sure we can survive for the next hundred years, it’s not crisis or chaos but we need to raise money to fill this gap.”