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Top Boy auditions in Hackney descend into chaos

PUBLISHED: 12:41 14 November 2012 | UPDATED: 12:42 14 November 2012

The cast of Top Boy - not on a Hackney Homes' towerblock because the council banned them from filming on their property in the borough

The cast of Top Boy - not on a Hackney Homes' towerblock because the council banned them from filming on their property in the borough

(l-r): Ra'nell (Malcolm Kamulete), Dushane (Ashley Walters), Sully (Kane Robinson) & Gem (Giacomo Mancini). This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 programme publicity purposes in connection with the current broadcast of the programme(s) featured in the national and local press and listings. Not to be reproduced or redistributed for any use or in any medium not set out above (including the internet or other electronic form) without the prior written consent of Channel 4 Picture Publicity: picturepublicity@channel4.co.uk

Auditions for a Channel 4 series about gangsters descended into chaos on Sunday afternoon.

Castings for the second series of Top Boy, a popular drama about drug and gang culture set on a fictional estate in Hackney, were scheduled to be held at Hoxton Hall, Hoxton Street between noon and 5pm.

Hundreds of teenagers were expected to attend the open auditions, which specifically asked for black, mixed race, Asian and non-white girls and boys aged between 13 and 16.

In the end, an estimated 2,000 youngsters turned up.

Online footage shows teenagers peacefully and neatly queuing down Hoxton Street and along Falkirk Street.

However, problems started after Hoxton Street Management – Hoxton Hall’s in-house theatrical agency which organised the event along with Cowboy Films, the production company behind the drama – cancelled the auditions at 1pm.

They said it was as a “health and safety measure”. But concerns were raised that Hoxton Street Management only cancelled after it had auditioned a suitable amount of people. Call back auditions allegedly took place on Tuesday.

Although the majority of the disappointed teenagers left quietly, a few irate individuals started to cause trouble.

Mary Senganda, who attended, said: “I was in the crowds getting squashed. Not everyone was causing trouble but some people have to ruin it.”

Kidtastik, who put up a YouTube video about the auditions, said: “Because it was so badly organised they had to close the auditions and so everyone got rowdy and there was like 400 youths left on the street.

“Apparently someone was trying to let off a firework and so everyone started to run. Shortly after that a girl got an egg thrown in her face.”

A spokesman from Hoxton Street Management said: “Parties who were not directly involved in the event advertised it unofficially on social media platforms, resulting in an unpredicted amount of people attending.”

A police spokesman said officers dealt with incidents at the scene, but no arrests were made.

Channel 4 was not involved in organising the event. A spokesman said: “The situation was extremely well handled by police on the ground and the crowds dispersed very quickly.”

Hoxton Hall is a youth arts centre and arts venue recently refurbished by Hackney Council.

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