Event Highlights: Jazz FM Awards 2017



Shoreditch Town Hall today announces an additional programme of shows to its 2017 season.

In October Shoreditch Town Hall welcomes Dance Umbrella for the first time who take over the venue with a programme including Lisbeth Gruwez Dances Bob Dylan; award-wining dancer and choreographer Julie Cunningham; spoken word poet Vanessa Kisuule, and the London première of Charles Linehan and Lithuanian photographer Karolis Janulis’s film The Shadow Drone Project

Added to the theatre programme is The Letter Room’s new show No Miracles Here, featuring live music and wall-to-wall dancing; and the London premiere of The Claim by Tim Cowbury, directed by Mark Maughan, a comically absurd, quietly shattering and imaginative response to the stories of those seeking refuge in the UK.  Following a successful run in 2016, there is also a return to the Town Hall for the Almeida Young Company with a preview of their interactive show From the Ground Up before it travels to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

There is further dance from Gillie Kleiman whose new show Recreation is about the things that we do that aren't work, featuring professional dancers alongside non-professionals, including a guest performer from Shoreditch; and an early look at former Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Will Adamsdale and Ed Gaughan’s new show The Lost Disc, directed by Tom Parry from acclaimed sketch group Pappy’s. 

The music line-up includes one of the driving forces of the UK jazz scene, Kansas Smitty’s House Band and the North London Chorus who perform their Shoreditch Town Hall debut concert alongside the Swiss Contrapunto Chor, with a programme of Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams and a new composition by Contrapunto Chor’s musical director Beat Dähler. 

These events join the previously announced 2017 programme featuring Kneehigh’s production of Gunter Grass’s epic novel The Tin Drum, and Kazzum’s production for children and families, The Boy, the Bees and the Blizzard, written by Mike Akers.

For more information on the season please visit our What's On section



Shoreditch Town Hall today announces the appointment of James Pidgeon as its new Director. He is currently Deputy Director of the venue and previously held the role of Programme Manager and Producer. He replaces Nick Giles who is leaving to pursue new consulting and leadership opportunities in the arts and third sector.

James Pidgeon said today, “It is an absolute honour to be given the opportunity to lead Shoreditch Town Hall during the next chapter of its journey, building on the vision and huge success of what Nick has achieved over the last five years. I’m incredibly excited for this next stage of the adventure as we further explore the possibilities that this unique building presents and inspires every day, creating bold and imaginative new work with a range of artists, broadening our artistic output for both new and existing audiences, heightening our national profile and reach, and further strengthening our role within the local Hackney community. With an open mind and collaborative spirit, I look forward to working with the enormously talented and dedicated Town Hall team to continue breathing the life back into this building that it deserves.”

Nick Giles said today, “James is a unique talent and having worked alongside him for over four years I can think of no one better, or anyone I’d have more confidence in, to lead the Town Hall and continue its development. I look forward to supporting him in his vision for our wonderful building as he takes it into new and exciting territory.”

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Stephen Robertson, said “The Trustees and I are thrilled to welcome James into the role of Director at Shoreditch Town Hall. His vision and exceptional artistic capabilities have been a critical driving force in the development of the organisation to date. We are delighted to have secured his talents to lead us forward in the journey that will take the Town Hall to further heights of success.”

James Pidgeon is currently Deputy Director at Shoreditch Town Hall having started with the organisation as Programme Manager and Producer in January 2013. During his time at the Town Hall, he has held responsibility for managing the multi-artform programme as well as all artist development and learning and engagement activity, and producing the likes of Nigel Barrett & Louise Mari’s Basement Grotto, Andrew Schneider’s YOUARENOWHERE (with LIFT and the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill) and the Town Hall’s recent productions of Philip Ridley’s The Pitchfork Disney and Killer, both directed by Jamie Lloyd. Previously he assisted on the producing of the Watch This Space Festival and Platforms programme at the National Theatre, working with a range of artists and companies from across the world including Circa, WildWorks, Compañía Markeliñe, NoFit State Circus, Compagnie Luc Amoros and Gandini Juggling. Prior to that, he worked at Battersea Arts Centre and also spent three years supporting the Southwark Community Projects team with the delivery of Globe Education’s Our Theatre and A Concert for Winter at Shakespeare’s Globe. He regularly undertakes guest lectures in producing and arts management at the likes of Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of Surrey.


Nick Giles today announces his final season as Director of Shoreditch Town Hall which features brand new work from some of the UK’s most cutting-edge artists, returning productions from regular Shoreditch Town Hall collaborators and the continued expansion of both the venue’s music programme and its local community engagement. Last week Giles announced he would be stepping down at the end of March 2017 after five and a half years leading the organisation. 

Following the successful run of Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) in December 2015, Kneehigh returns to Shoreditch Town Hall this Christmas with its new adaptation of Günter Grass’s novel The Tin Drum. Created by the same team as Dead Dog in a Suitcase (writer Carl Grose, composer Charles Hazlewood and director Mike Shepherd), the production runs from 5 – 23 December in the Assembly Hall. The season also sees brand new work from Idiot Child who come to Shoreditch Town Hall for the first time with What If the plane falls out of the sky?, Penned in the MarginsFair Field and a new production for children and young people, The Boy, the Bees and the Blizzard, presented by Kazzum.  The Town Hall will also present an exciting weekender with Dance Umbrella in October, of which further details shall be announced in May.

There are appearances from several companies that have featured regularly during Giles’ tenure – in May, the Council Chamber hosts runs of TOOT’s Focus Group* and Greg Wohead’s Comeback Special, and Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari with AK/DK return to The Ditch basement spaces with margate/dreamland.

Over the last five and half years of Giles’ leadership, Shoreditch Town Hall has become an important part of local Hackney life and in April, it ventures out into the community with One Tenth Human & China Plate’s interactive show for young people We’re Stuck!, following its sell-out run in March 2016. The show runs from 12 – 15 April in The Ditch before being transported by the Town Hall to The Edge, one of Young Hackney's Youth Hubs, from 19 – 22 April. The Town Hall will also, alongside its regular programme of Town Hall Tea Dances and workshop activity, present new monthly tours of the building led by Crouch End Walks.

Alongside the theatre programme, the season also includes a wide breadth of musical acts including performances from the Royal Academy of Music and Kandace Springs, as well as the annual ARGComFest, a packed weekend of Edinburgh comedy previews, in July.

For full details of the season, see the What's On section of our website

Nick Giles said today, “This season brings together an eclectic mix of adventurous artists, new performance, music and comedy. I am particularly happy to welcome back regular collaborators, such as Kneehigh and Greg Wohead, as well as new artists such as Idiot Child and Dance Umbrella – all creating surprising and transformational experiences. This has been my ambition from the start: bringing the building to life with work made for, inspired by, or at home in our unique spaces.”


Today Nick Giles announces that he will step down as Director of Shoreditch Town Hall, leaving at the end of March after five and a half years leading the organisation.  He will take a break before pursuing new consulting and leadership opportunities in the arts and third sector.  He will also remain an Associate Director and Trustee of Shoreditch Town Hall.

Nick Giles said today, “Shoreditch Town Hall is a remarkable building and it has been both thrilling and a huge privilege to have been able to continue its restoration over the past five years as well as lead it into exciting, new territory as a vibrant arts space. It’s been especially rewarding to welcome thousands of audiences to the building to experience the artistic and participation programmes we’ve built here since I joined, especially those from our local community who previously had no reason to come through our doors. This has always been a very personal project, to realise the building’s full potential – artistic, creative and financial - but as is always the case with challenging projects, it has been a team effort.  I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a talented, hugely dedicated group of co-workers and collaborators, as well as supporters, artists, clients, stakeholders and our community who have not just enthusiastically embraced the Town Hall during my years here, but have been fundamental to getting us to where we are.  I know I am leaving the building in safe hands and with people who will continue to keep exploring and striving, as I hope I have done, to find new and exciting ways for the building to come alive.  And above all, during its 150th anniversary year, to ensure that it is still here to be enjoyed and reinvented by future generations, as a continuing, vital part of London’s cultural landscape and of Shoreditch and Hackney life.”

Stephen Robertson, Chair of The Trustees, said “Nick’s tenure at STH has been literally transformative. His vision, passion and total dedication has moved this historic venue well and truly into the 21st century whilst enhancing the links with its historic past and the surrounding community. The breadth, diversity and quality of the artistic programme has allowed the venue to carve a distinctive place for itself in London; capacity is at record levels and average turnover has almost trebled in just 5 years. Nick, and the team under his watch, have delivered more than any of us might have imagined in our wildest dreams. We know that Nick is excited about the next chapters in his career and are delighted that he will remain an Associate Director and active Trustee going forward.”

Over the past five years Shoreditch Town Hall has been transformed into a key off-West End arts space and flagship live events venue for Hackney. Raising and investing £2.8m funding into capital works and the artistic programme, Giles has enabled the building to operate fully as a theatre and live events venue for the first time since the late 1960s. This has included bringing the Assembly Hall back to its full 800 audience capacity – one of the last large-scale Victorian music hall auditoria remaining in the East End – as well as establishing the warren of basement spaces as a home for immersive, site specific performance.

As a result, since the arts programme was established at Shoreditch Town Hall the venue has welcomed 96,000 audiences and participants through its doors – a significant proportion of which have come from the local area and the vast majority first time visitors. It has included 190 productions, 18 new commissions and supported work, and 40 premières. Turnover has increased from an average of £340,000 five years ago to £1.1m today, and building occupancy, once just 15-20%, is now 80% of available capacity.

As the venue has never received revenue funding from either Arts Council, England or London Borough of Hackney, Giles has established a predominantly self-funding model underpinned by an expanded commercial events business, including bringing in the now Michelin starred Clove Club as a tenant.  This model allows the venue to support 85-90% of its core running costs and has funded, along with investment raised for projects, the development of the arts and community programmes.

A core aspect of the venue’s artistic work throughout Nick’s time at the venue has been supporting and investing in artists – theatre and performance makers in particular – to develop and present original, imaginative new work in the building’s numerous non-traditional theatre spaces. This has ranged from full commissions and financial investment, to mentoring, free or subsided rehearsal space and production / R&D time. Since 2013 this has placed artists at the centre of the venue’s creative work, with 80-100 artists and companies supported every year, ensuring up to 80% of the presented programme is made up of work Shoreditch Town Hall has either invested in or supported.

Jamie Lloyd, whose current Philip Ridley double-bill is running in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall, said of Giles, “Nick has achieved something truly remarkable at Shoreditch Town Hall. Starting from scratch, he has turned the building into a dynamic crucible of creativity. Never have I felt so free and so nurtured when creating work. Nick and his staff are energised and dedicated; they allow your imagination to flourish and give you the confidence to explore new territory. Nick has created an environment in which you can truly thrive and push the limits of your practice as an artist."

Recent artistic commissions under Giles’s leadership have included The Wardrobe Ensemble’s 1972: THE FUTURE OF SEX, SLEEPLESS from Analogue, and Ross Sutherland’s PARTY TRAP.  Immersive or site sensitive new projects include the current double-bill of Philip Ridley’s THE PITCHFORK DISNEY and KILLER, directed by Jamie Lloyd, and recent productions of dreamthinkspeak’s ABSENT, Nigel Barrett & Louise Mari’s PARTY SKILLS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD and One Tenth Human & China Plate’s WE’RE STUCK! In the past two years the programme has included new work from Kneehigh, Andrew Schneider, Spymonkey, RSC, Greg Wohead, Toot, Verity Standen, Upstart Theatre, Jonny Woo, On The Run, Ira Brand, Gillie Kleiman, Gary McNair, Vincent Dance Theatre and Curious Directive.

Giles notified the board of his intention to step down in the latter part of 2016, and a further statement regarding his successor will be made in the coming weeks.