News Story

We are thrilled to announce that Keith Khan has been appointed as the Creative Director of Hackney Empire, starting in September 2024.

Multi-disciplinary artist Keith Khan, who was born in London of Trinidadian Indian heritage, most recently directed and designed the acclaimed The Accountants at Factory International and has become renowned for his method of working with design and spectacle, underpinned by personal narrative and community engagement.

The Gift, a digital and textile project designed by Khan in 2023, celebrated all 33 wards and communities of Leeds and was commissioned by Leeds 2023 in collaboration with Burberry. The project is now installed across the 33 wards of Leeds as a textile gift to the city.

Khan set up the company Moti Roti and also worked independently as a Creative Director and lead artist on numerous commissions, such as The Queen's Commonwealth celebration for Her Jubilee and was Head of Culture for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Chief Executive of Rich Mix.

Khan’s work also includes art directing and designing ten independent films (including the recently re-released Flight); directing eight short films; directing 12 theatre shows (including OBIE award-winning Alladeen and Time Out Dance and Performance award-winning Moti Roti, Puttli Chunni); designing Carnival in Trinidad and Notting Hill for nine years, and for nine organisations; designing nine festivals, including Build at the Tate Modern (involving the active participation of 2000 young people nationally) and Rainbow of Wishes (involving an education project with 72 countries participating) and designing 30 theatre shows, including shows at Sadler’s Wells, Opera North and Welsh National Opera. Keith Khan´s archive, of drawings, documents and objects was acquired by London´s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2014.

“I am super excited to be joining the team at Hackney Empire. It is in one of the best areas in London… the heart of many of my passions, such as design, fashion, and all sorts of creative people. It is a type of diversity that I hope to reflect in this amazing building. I love it, as it has such a reputation as a venue, not tied to a particular art form or community. Some recall it as a big bingo hall, others think about its comedy and music programme. But overall it is at the heart of London, and its focus appeals to multiple audiences. That is what I find thrilling about this opportunity.”

Keith Khan, Incoming Creative Director

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Keith Khan as our new Creative Director in September 2024. Keith has a long and distinguished record across a number of art forms, including designing a range of theatre shows and festivals from Trinidad to Notting Hill. Keith was Head of Culture for the London Olympics and Paralympic Games. In addition to deepening our well established and highly productive links with the local community, Keith’s international reach will bring opportunities for new and diverse collaborations and partnerships. Yamin Choudury, our departing Artistic Director and Jo Hemmant CEO have transformed the fortune of Hackney Empire to the point where we can look forward with optimism to the many challenges facing the sector. Keith Khan is an exciting addition to our talented and hard-working team.”

Sir William Atkinson, Chair of the Board of Trustees

“Yamin holds a very special place in our hearts for all that he has contributed to Hackney Empire – we are forever in his debt. Keith is a worthy custodian to take up the artistic leadership mantle and I have every confidence that he will continue to ignite the Hackney Empire flame – blazing a trail that continues to embrace our audiences and communities with his dynamism, style and extraordinary talent.”

Jo Hemmant, Executive Director and CEO

“It has been a privilege to be part of an important step for Hackney Empire. Keith Khan's appointment continues the great work of Yamin Choudury, building on a vision that embraces the best of its history and future. We look forward to working with Keith to celebrate and deepen our Hackney Empire community and bring the best of the world’s stage to Hackney.”

Josette Bushell-Mingo, Board Member