News

March

NICK GILES ANNOUNCES FINAL SEASON AS DIRECTOR OF SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL

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.”

NICK GILES TO STEP DOWN AS DIRECTOR OF SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL

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.

December

SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL ANNOUNCES IMMERSIVE PHILIP RIDLEY DOUBLE-BILL DIRECTED BY JAMIE LLOYD

Double bill includes world première of Killer and revival of The Pitchfork Disney

Today Shoreditch Town Hall announces an immersive double-bill of Philip Ridley plays, including the world première of Killer and a new production of Ridley’s contemporary classic The Pitchfork Disney, his first stage play which premièred in 1991. The productions will both be directed by Jamie Lloyd and run in ‘The Ditch’ basement spaces of Shoreditch Town Hall in spring 2017. 

The Pitchfork Disney, starring George Blagden (TV credits include the leading role of King Louis XIV in Canal+ / BBC2’s Versailles and Athelstan in the History Channel’s hit Vikings), Tom Rhys Harries (theatre credits include Hotel at the National Theatre and MOJO at the Harold Pinter), Hayley Squires (recently seen as Katie in Ken Loach’s Palme D’Or winning film I, Daniel Blake) and Seun Shote (Salome, directed by Jamie Lloyd for Headlong and Play Mas at Orange Tree Theatre), opens on 2 February. Killer, a series of monologues starring John MacMillan (recently seen in Yerma at the Young Vic, Jamie Lloyd’s production of The Homecoming at Trafalgar Studios and the BBC’s Silk) opens on 27 February, with the two productions playing in rep from 28 February. 

Jamie Lloyd said today: “Philip Ridley is a maverick iconoclast of British culture, whose work includes plays, screenplays, novels, music, performance art, painting, photography and more. His innovative output has been a major influence on my own practice, and I am fascinated to explore the depth of his work via his first play alongside, and in the context of, his most recent theatre piece. The Ditch at Shoreditch Town Hall is one of the most atmospheric spaces in the country - the perfect environment in which to delve deep into Ridley's imagination with these two projects, together with a raft of special events to be announced at a later date.”

Shoreditch Town Hall presents
The Pitchfork Disney
By Philip Ridley

Directed by Jamie Lloyd; Designed by Soutra Gilmour; Lighting by Richard Howell
Sound by Ben & Max Ringham and George Dennis; Composition by Ben & Max Ringham
Casting by Charlotte Sutton

Cast: George Blagden, Tom Rhys Harries, Seun Shote and Hayley Squires

27 January – 18 March
Press night: Thursday 2 February at 7pm

You know why the ghost train is so popular? Because there are no ghosts. Once you’ve learnt that you can make a fortune.

Presley and Haley have bolted their East London home against the terrors of the world. Since their parents died ten years ago, they have found comfort in chocolate, medication and fantasies of nuclear apocalypse. But, one night, Presley sees a beautiful stranger on the street outside. And while Haley sleeps, he lets their worst nightmare in.

Claustrophobic, comic and deeply unsettling, Philip Ridley’s seminal masterpiece played a revolutionary role in changing the face of British theatre when it premiered in 1991 to critical acclaim and controversy. Its exploration of ‘a climate of fear’, living in ‘alternate worlds’ and persistent thrum of sexual anxiety has continued to act as a tuning fork for the zeitgeist - a play whose relevance is forever in the now.

Step into Shoreditch Town Hall’s atmospheric basement spaces and experience this unique, immersive revival of Ridley’s debut play deep in the eerie underbelly of East London.

Shoreditch Town Hall presents
The world première of
Killer
By Philip Ridley

Directed by Jamie Lloyd; Designed by Soutra Gilmour
Sound by Ben & Max Ringham and George Dennis; Composition by Ben & Max Ringham
Casting by Charlotte Sutton

Cast: John MacMillan

22 February – 8 April
Press night: Thursday 27 February at 7pm

A killer! That’s what I am. And if I’m not very much mistaken...You could be too!

A loner finds an albino ostrich that can perform miracles. A teenager stumbles on a mysterious doorway leading to a Jurassic world. A one-legged surfer grows a new limb. Killer is a magical and, at times, menacing anthology of stories told in the recesses of the dark...

Employing binaural sound, director Jamie Lloyd takes you on an intimate journey within the bowels of Shoreditch Town Hall and the depths of your psyche. In this world première production, Philip Ridley's darkly comic collection of new monologues shiver with the anxiety of our age.

Click here to book now 

October

SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL PUBLISHES ANNUAL REPORT 2015/16

Shoreditch Town Hall today publishes its 2015/16 Annual Report, with the new figures showing a marked increase in audience numbers and income.  As well as a continuing focus on the development of new, emerging artists, alongside work for and with the Hackney community, 2015/16 also saw the venue add live music and comedy to the artistic programme as well as larger scale theatre, including dreamthinkspeak’s ABSENT and  Kneehigh’s Dead Dog in a Suitcase .

Shoreditch Town Hall Director Nick Giles said today, “It’s been an incredible year for all of us at Shoreditch Town Hall.  Our artistic programme continued to grow, adding larger scale theatre, music and comedy, as well as a wide range of new work increasingly supported or commissioned by us.  Our building became more accessible and flexible than at any point in its history.  And we continued to develop our commercial hires and events business, crucial to underpinning everything we do as a non-revenue funded charity.”

“To give some context, four years ago there was no artistic programme, no thousands of audiences or participants engaging creatively with the building and we had neither the in-house facilities or technical kit to make a programme of theatre, music and public events possible.  With 2016 marking the 150th anniversary of Shoreditch Town Hall, it’s wonderful to now see the building as busy, full of life and as enjoyed as it’s ever been.”

The key achievements for the period included:

27,809 attendees for Shoreditch Town Hall’s artistic performance and creative learning programmes up 9,571 on 2014/15, with an average show capacity of 72%.

• Just under 2,000 performances of 50 programmed productions involving 934 performers and creatives, 14 world or UK premières, and 4 new commissions

111 artists, companies and arts organisations worked with and supported.

£589,244 of commercial and earned income (an increase of 14% on 2014/15).

35% of audiences and participants from within a 2-mile radius of the building.

£585,778 invested in production and technical infrastructure, including a new passenger lift and general refurbishment, bringing the total capital investment since 2012 to £2m.

3,676 engaging actively in creative learning and participation work.

83% of artistic programme comprised of work Shoreditch Town Hall has either supported or invested in.

• All this achieved with a core team of 15 members of staff.

For the full review, please click on the image below:

September

OPEN CALL FOR HACKNEY ARTISTS! Town Hall Takeover 2016

We are thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity for local artists to be involved in a brand new project at Shoreditch Town Hall.

On Saturday 29 October, the Town Hall will throw open its doors for a day of workshops, performances and events for all the family! A packed programme of theatre, music, dance and art activities will take place across the building.

As part of the programme, we’re looking for Hackney-based artists to lead some of the workshop activity, doing what you do best. We’re looking for artists who can offer a 60-minute workshop for up to 30 young participants and their accompanying adults. There are NO limitations on art form - we will consider anything and everything – however please note that it is likely these workshops will take place in one of our basement spaces meaning that the floor will be concrete and therefore not suitable for certain types of activity. If possible, we would love for your session to engage specifically with the local Hackney community, and are interested to hear how this might work in your initial expression of interest.

Please email joss.nicholas@shoreditchtownhall.com, outlining exactly what your session would include and any information about your relevant experience, by midday on Wednesday 28 September. Please also indicate the age range of participants that your workshop will target (it must be an age range within 0-14 years). Fixed small fees will be available for all artists who are selected to lead workshops, as well as some basic technical support on the day.

If your proposal does not quite sit within a 60-minute workshop structure, but you think your activity is suitable, please do still get in touch as we’d love to hear about your ideas, whether they end up being considered for this project or something else further down the line.

We very much look forward to hearing from you!