Hackney Empire is a grade II listed building. The theatre was built as a music hall in 1901, designed by the architect Frank Matcham. In 2001, the Empire closed for a £17 million refurbishment project designed by Tim Ronalds Architects with Carr and Angier acting as theatre consultants. It was reopened in 2004. The restoration included the addition of a 60-seat orchestra pit to make the Empire suitable for opera performance by companies such as English Touring Opera, the addition of a flytower with provision for counterweight flying and a reduction of the stage rake from 1 in 24 to 1 in 30. Among other new facilities were a studio theatre and educational and hospitality facilities, and greatly improved dressing rooms.
Visit the East End’s salmon smokery and restaurant by the River Lea, with views of the Olympic stadium. “If you don’t like smoked salmon, you haven’t been to Foreman’s.”
The Yard, conceived by Artistic Director Jay Miller and built in the summer of 2011, is a multi-award winning theatre and bar based in a converted warehouse in Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick – five minutes’ walk from the Overground and right on the edge of the Olympic Park. The Yard is about new ideas, new writing and the live event, encouraging a dialogue between artists and the local community. “The Yard is a fantastic new venue. It gives young artists the kind of opportunities that can transform their careers. And it gives its audiences a wonderful night out. It feels like the future.”
Hackney has a variety of leisure facilities, such as Clissold leisure centre in Stoke Newington, Kings Hall leisure centre in Clapton and London fields lido which has an outdoor pool to name a few. There are a variety of art galleries. The first Thursday of every month the galleries of East London open their doors until 9pm, offering free alcohol and art for all. There are also several coffee shops, bars and not to mention an entertaining theatre right next to Hackney Wick.
There are several train stations to get you directly into central London and out such as Hackney Central, Hackney Central and Homerton to name a few. There are also numerous buses such as 30 which will take you towards Marble Arch, 48 which will take you to London Bridge, 242 which will take you to Tottenham Court road via a 24 hour service. 277, 394, 48, 106 are also a number of buses that will take you in and around Hackney.
During the week/weekend there are many supermarkets such as Tesco that is 5 mins walk from Hackney Central station. Iceland and M&S are also 2-3 minutes’ walk from Hackney Central station. There are also a number markets such as Dalston market that you will be able to get a lot of traditional based food from.