Hackney Empire today announces Dick Whittington and His Cat for its 2019 pantomime production which will sail in to London in November, marking a record 21st pantomime from Hackney Empire stalwarts, writer and director Susie McKenna and composer Steven Edis. Last staged in 2012, the classic tale receives a brand-new, magical adaptation when it returns to the East End venue this Christmas. Dick Whittington and His Cat will run from 23rd November 2019 to 5th January 2020.
In true Hackney Empire style, Dick Whittington and His Cat will once again bring all the magic and spectacle audiences have come to love and expect from London’s number one pantomime to get the festive season underway, in a sparkling reimagining of the Dick Whittington story.
In Jamaica, young ‘Dickens’ Whittington is boarding the Empire Windrush, chasing the dream of a new life and seeking to make his fortune in the gold-paved streets of glorious London. Little does he know, magic awaits him and his enchanted feline friend far across the ocean… He’ll embark on the adventure of a lifetime: reuniting with his Mum, fighting rodent royalty, meeting an eccentric fairy and winning the heart of his true love – all whilst trying to find fame and fortune.
A dazzling Hackney-style reimagining of this classic rags-to-riches tale, bursting with laugh-out-loud topical gags, knockabout comedy, show-stopping song and dance numbers, the most boo-able baddies and enough festive cheer to fuel a ship half way round the world.
Susie McKenna, Writer and Director, said: “This is our 21st year and we are taking inspiration from the story of our 15th century hero Richard Whittington, and celebrating the courage and determination of our 20th century heroes – the Windrush Generation. The story represents a journey full of hopes and dreams, it’s a tribute to my own extended family as well as our local community. As always, our show will have all the ingredients of a traditional pantomime, sprinkled with surprises galore in true Hackney panto style.”
Yamin Choudury, Director of Artistic Programming, and Jo Hemmant, Executive Director, from Hackney Empire said: “We are thrilled to announce the on sale of Dick Whittington and welcome back Susie, and her team, following the great success of last year’s Aladdin.”
Hackney Empire’s much-loved pantomime has become one of the city’s most anticipated annual highlights bringing West End value at East End prices to attract an ever growing local, national and global fanbase. Last year’s critically acclaimed 20th anniversary production of Aladdin was also recently nominated for six Great British Pantomime Awards including Pantomime of the Year, Best Director, Best Dame and Best Supporting Female. Aladdin saw record sales attracting 19% of audiences from the local area, nearly 10% of first-time attendees plus audience members from across the world including Kuwait, Taiwan, Japan, Iceland, Australia, Europe and the USA.
Susie McKenna (Director/Writer) has written and directed 21 critically acclaimed pantomimes at Hackney Empire, plus three other Christmas shows. Early in her career she played principal boy at Nottingham Playhouse for eight years. Her most recent directing credits include King concert and Legacy (Hackney Empire), Oranges and Elephants (Hoxton Hall) and The Silver Sword, written by Susie and Steven Edis. Other credits include Blues in the Night (Hackney Empire and transferring to the Kiln this summer), A Midsummer Night’s Madness (Hackney Empire, New York and Edinburgh Festival) and Once on this Island (Hackney Empire, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse). She was nominated for the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Guild/Coigney International Theatre Award for developing international links. She has also worked as an actor for over 30 years and credits include Chicago, Cats, Ragtime and The Witches of Eastwick in the West End, TV shows such as Mr Bean and Casualty and films such as Cats, Jack and Sarah and Muppets Most Wanted.
Steven Edis (Musical Composer) has produced a magical mix of musical mash-ups, chart remixes and brand new music for the Hackney Empire pantomimes and this will be his 21st year of creating another original score. Steven has worked with the National Theatre, in the West End and on a variety of prestigious projects as composer, arranger and orchestrator. Recent credits include Agnes Colander (Ustinov Studio), By Jeeves (Old Laundry Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Noel Coward). Previous credits include Volpone (RSC), The Captain of Köpenick (National Theatre), She Loves Me and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Chichester Festival Theatre), A Chorus of Disapproval, Flare Path and Birdsong for the West End. Steven brings his vast experience to create a musical score that rivals a West End musical.
Tickets for Dick Whittington and His Cat are now on sale at www.hackneyempire.co.uk
DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT
A Hackney Empire Pantomime
Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ
First performance: Saturday 23rd November 2019
Final performance: Sunday 5th January 2020
7th December 2.30pm and 7pm and 12th December 1.30pm and 7pm
Dementia Friendly and Relaxed Performance
7th December 2.30pm with familiarisation tour at 12.45pm (advance booking required)
020 8985 2424
Please Note: Children under 14 years need to be accompanied at all times by a paying adult
Tickets from £10 - £42, concessions available
Groups of 10+ discount available at certain of performances