Sir William Atkinson has been appointed the new Chair of the Board of Trustees for Hackney Empire.
Atkinson takes up the post in March 2022, as former Chair Delphine Brand steps down.
Sir William Atkinson has extensive experience of theatre through his nine years as a Trustee of the Royal Shakespeare Company and as Chair of the Board of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. He has also been a Trustee of Mousetrap Projects.
Sir William Atkinson said, “I am delighted to be joining Hackney Empire at this crucial point in its development, working with the excellent staff and trustees with a view to improving the good work which Hackney Empire is known for across London and beyond. Priorities include building the programme, broadening the make-up of audiences even more, and developing young – and not so young – minds from our wider communities”
Sir William spent 40 years as a teacher and headteacher in several inner -city secondary schools across London. Sir William was knighted in November 2008 for service to education and community relations. He is currently a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London and Trustee of the Clink Charity and is a patron of Leadership Through Sport and Business charity.
Hackney Empire is led by Artistic Director Yamin Choudury and Executive Director Jo Hemmant. The iconic venue has been a key part of Hackney’s cultural fabric since 1901 and each year welcomes over 200,000 people to enjoy life-affirming cultural experiences.
Yamin Choudury and Jo Hemmant said, “Hackney Empire owes a huge debt of thanks to Delphine for her leadership, commitment and support. Her guidance and dedication during her tenure will be missed by all of us and we thank her from the bottom of our hearts. We are delighted to be welcoming Sir William and look forward to working with him on the next chapter of our journey”
Former Chair of the Board Delphine Brand said, “It has been my pleasure to Chair Hackney Empire – to work alongside Jo and Yamin the team and the Board of Trustees to ensure that Hackney Empire is in the best place possible to be able to deliver the next phase of its remarkable history – supporting artists and creating opportunities for young people within this fantastic iconic building for all communities. I have every confidence that Sir William will be an excellent Chair for the next chapter in Hackney Empire’s history.”
Widely known for its annual pantomime, this year the venue will stage Mother Goose starring Clive Rowe.