‘Dick Whittington and His Cat’ sails into the East End this Christmas.
‘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 re-imagining 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’.
Last staged in 2012, this brand new, magical re-imagining sees the classic tale set in Post-War Britain, whilst retaining all the spectacle audiences expect from London’s Number One pantomime.
Hackney Empire’s annual pantomime has become one of London’s most anticipated theatre highlights, bringing West End value at East End prices, attracting an ever growing local, national and global fan-base.
Last year’s critically acclaimed 20th anniversary production of ‘Aladdin’ was Hackney Empire’s most successful panto to date, receiving a total of six nominations in the Great British Pantomime Awards, including Pantomime of the Year, Best Director, Best Dame and Best Supporting Female.
The production marks a record 21st pantomime for Hackney Empire stalwarts, writer and director Susie McKenna and composer Steven Edis.
Susie McKenna has written and directed 21 productions at Hackney Empire, all of which have received both critical and public acclaim. Credits include: ‘Oranges and Elephants’ (Hoxton Hall), ‘Blues in the Night’ (Hackney Empire/Kiln Theatre), ‘A Midsummer Night’s Madness’ (Hackney Empire, New York and Edinburgh Festival) and ‘Once on this Island’ (Hackney Empire, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse).
Musical composer Steven Edis brings his vast experience for what will be his 21st year of creating an original score for the Hackney Empire pantomime. His 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).
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.”
Writer and director Susie McKenna 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.”
‘Dick Whittington and His Cat’ will run at the Hackney Empire from 23rd November 2019 to 5th January 2020, with an official opening night on Wednesday 4th December.