News Story

Dearest Gentle Reader...

It is no secret that Hackney Empire, the diamond of East London is often used in a variety of media. For example, in Sam Smith's rather UNHOLY music video which caused quite the scandal amongst the Ton. However, a fact you may not have known is that scenes from Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte were shot in this deep velvety red auditorium - yes indeed - stars of theatre and the screen such as Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andohand Alison Buchanan, as well as Television stars, Ruth Gemmell and Sabrina Bartlett graced the heart of Hackney.

Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Episode 5
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Episode 5

Golda Rosheuvel is the iconic first gay woman to portray Othello at Liverpool Everyman theatre, and a female Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet at The Globe, but in the wisteria-covered world of Bridgerton, she is the fierce and flamboyant Queen Charlotte. My own mama leaned forward in surprise when she saw the ‘04’ beside the queen in her box, recognising it from Hackney Empire, as it was placed there in 2004 to represent the year of the reopening.

Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury) and Ruth Gemmel (Lady Bridgerton) in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Episode 5
Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury) and Ruth Gemmel (Lady Bridgerton) in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Episode 5

To call Adjoa Andoh a legend is an understatement, with her talent sprawling across decades, an array of genres and densely peppered across TV, Film and Theatre. In Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte, she plays the society-sculpting Lady Danbury, sitting in one of Hackney Empire’s boxes with Lady Bridgerton, played by Ruth Gemmell, who starred in popular TV shows including the beloved Tracy Beaker alongside Hackney Empire’s patron and celebrated Dame and Director of Pantomimes, Clive Rowe.

Alison Buchanan in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story at Hackney Empire
Alison Buchanan in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story at Hackney Empire

Alison Buchanan and her exquisite voice is heard in the opening of Episode 5 of Queen Charlotte, capturing the souls of audiences around the world. Hand in hand with setting the auditorium ablaze, she is a trailblazer off screen being an internationally renowned Soprano and the Artistic Director of Pegasus Opera Company - the only Black British female Artistic Director of an opera company in the United Kingdom!

Soprano Alison Buchanan in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story at Hackney Empire
Soprano Alison Buchanan in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story at Hackney Empire

The boxes were transformed to match regency era decor and regal opulence with gold-trimmed red drapes, chandeliers, golden ornaments and candles, and the stage was bordered with added warm candle light and plasterboards to match the decor and time period.

Sabrina Bartlett as Sienna Rosso in Bridgerton Season One at Hackney Empire

In Bridgerton, Soprano Sienna Rosso, who was Anthony Bridgerton’s secret lover in Season One, is played by actress Sabrina Bartlett, but the voice belongs to rising star, Rowan Pierce. In the first season, a full auditorium of members of the Ton provides a stunning shot. It does look rather different with the red curtains covering the bar behind the stalls!

Sabrina Bartlett as Sienna Rosso in Bridgerton at Hackney Empire
Sabrina Bartlett as Sienna Rosso in Bridgerton at Hackney Empire

Architect Frank Matcham designed Hackney Empire with very few pillars to make sure it has as little restricted views as possible, which contributes to these beautiful, wide open cinematic shots. We hope to see more in the future as the Bridgerton children find love in Mayfair in future seasons!

Yours truly,
Lady Sara Khan