As part of Forest School’s ongoing commitment to strengthen Forest and its community through collaboration and partnership, Forest is delighted to announce that it is the proud partner of Hackney Empire’s Creative Futures programme reaching 4,000 disadvantaged young people every year.

The partnership was launched at an event on 16th May 2019 at Hackney Empire – an East London icon since 1901 and one of the largest theatres outside London’s West End with 1,300 tickets on sale every night. Forest School and Hackney Empire jointly hosted an event to mark the launch of a new partnership to celebrate the beginning of what promises to be an extremely fruitful relationship for years to come. 

The event was attended by the Warden of Forest School Marcus Cliff Hodges, Gemma Van Praagh Deputy Head Co-Curricular at Forest, Yamin Choudury Director of Artistic Programme at Hackney Empire and Jo Hemmant Executive Director at Hackney Empire and saw a plaque unveiled and performances from Creative Futures students who, through the programme, have benefitted from the opportunities that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds so often miss out on.  Speaking at the launch event, Yamin Choudury said:

“Without the support of partners such as Forest School this work might not exist, and all of us at Hackney Empire would like to express our sincere gratitude to the governors, teachers and parents at Forest School for their shared passion and vital enthusiasm to create change and transformation amongst those who are most in need and often most ignored. We very much look forward to working together to create necessary, long-term and sustainable impact in our communities.”

In 2018-19 Hackney Empire’s Creative Futures programme created opportunities for young people to participate, develop and excel in a variety of Arts & Culture projects, benefitting over 4,000 children and young people; providing 800+ hours of engagement in over 50 projects. Hackney Empire’s free programme of workshops, events and other creative opportunities is available for over 45 weeks of the year and has become a home and safe space for children and young people from some of the most hard-to-reach, isolated and marginalised communities across London. Hackney Empire’s education and outreach team have successfully delivered bespoke lessons and programmes to disadvantaged children – in their own schools – delivering proven positive impacts on their learning, outcomes and overall wellbeing.

Forest School and Hackney Empire have a shared belief in the transformative impact of arts and culture, in all its forms, and with Forest School’s support, Hackney Empire will continue its vital work to ensure that creative opportunities are accessible to all.