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Hackney Empire announces new artistic and executive directors

The theatre underwent a major restructure this year

Yamin Choudury
© Katherine Leedale

Hackney Empire has announced its new senior management team after a major restructure earlier this year.

Yamin Choudury, formerly executive producer of creative learning at the venue, will take up the role of director of artistic programme, replacing Susie McKenna who stepped down last year after seven years as creative director. Choudury joined the Empire in 2003 and is an award-winning arts practitioner with a background in inclusive theatre at organisations including International Village in Australia and China and Haringey Shed.

Also announced today is the theatre's new executive director Jo Hemmant, who stepped into the role of acting chief executive when Claire Middleton left the venue last year. Hemmant joined the organisation in 2012 as director of operations and deputy CEO. Previous experience includes work as a producer at London 2012 Festival, and twelve years as theatre officer at Arts Council England.

Currently home to the London transfer of the RSC's Hamlet with Paapa Essiedu, upcoming productions at the 1275-seater theatre include a collaboration with the Royal Opera House on Mamzer, Lesley Garrett in Welsh National Opera's Rhondda Rips it Up, comedians Russell Brand and David O'Doherty, and this year's annual pantomime, Aladdin.

On the appointment, Choudury said: "Hackney Empire has been a constant presence in my life since I was 18 years old and has a powerful legacy of supporting and nurturing the next generation of creatives and artists to have not only a better understanding of the industry, but also to have the tools and knowledge to create potent and definite impact.

"I have been able to learn from and work with some of the best and I look forward to now working alongside an incredible team to ensure that Hackney Empires' ethos of diversity, understanding and community, being at the heart of the organisation's creative process, is able to flourish."

Hemmant added: "I have had the privilege of working with an extraordinary and dedicated team at Hackney Empire over the last 5 years delivering work of excellence and entertainment. It is with great pride and pleasure that I take up the position to lead this team with Yamin Choudury, artistic director of programming, and our board on the next stage of Hackney Empire's exciting journey."