Calling all contenders for Hackney's biggest talent show

Young people across the borough are being urged to showcase their talent by entering the Alter Ego competition, part of Hackney Council's Discover Young Hackney Festival 2013.
 Budding performers aged 13-21 can apply online now by uploading videos to or come along to the Hackney Empire this Saturday 12 January  from 10am – 6pm to impress the judges with their singing, dancing, rapping or comedy skills.  Finalists will be announced on Monday 21 January. The public can view the contenders and vote for their favourites via the website.  
The Alter Ego finals will be hosted by Kat B (MTV Base) at the Hackney Empire on Friday 1 February 2013 and will include a performances from Hackney born actress and MC Paigey Cakey. Whoever wins will receive professional industry mentoring.
17 year old dancer Tolu Okamnlawon, who’s hoping to study marketing at University won the Alter Ego title last year and since then he’s been showcasing his talent at venues across London. Tolu is keen to encourage other young people to get involved with the festival and by competing in Alter Ego, he says: “Getting up on stage is really nerve-wracking but the feeling afterwards is so good, I definitely advise young people to go for it."
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture said: “Last year’s festival was an amazing success. There’s an incredible amount of talent and energy amongst young people in the borough. Discover Young Hackney is designed to harness that talent and give young people the practical tools and information they need to get on the right career path, through a very exciting programme of events.”
 Discover Young Hackney, now in its seventh year is a free festival which promotes participation and training in the arts for young people through a range of taster sessions and workshops run by creative professionals in music, dance, radio, art, literature, photography, design, singing, film and theatre. The Festival runs from 1 February 2013 to 28 February 2013.
 For more information see, call Samantha Schneider on 020 8356 7209 or email Auditions for the 12 January 2013 need to be booked through the Hackney Empire at or 020 8510 4396.  Tickets for Alter Ego finals cost £2 each (advanced) or £4 (on the door).  To book advanced tickets call the Hackney box office on 020 8985 2424, or visit
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 Hackney Empire
Based in the very heart of cultural East London, the Hackney Empire is an international entertainment landmark focused on presenting a wide variety of top artists and acts from the UK and throughout the world. Here, you’ll experience the big names in comedy, music, theatre and dance as well as more underground and emerging talents, reflecting East London’s amazing diversity.  Hackney Empire has become renowned for its home-grown pantomimes under the direction of Susie McKenna, winning critical acclaim for the past eleven years. The theatre prides itself on serving its diverse community with an eclectic programme and is dedicated to seeking out new talent, providing a professional framework in which young and emerging artists can grow and develop. Initiatives include the annual New Act of the Year, East By South East Comedy Talent Search, Hackney Harlem Theatre Company, New Writers Awards in partnership with Angle Theatre and our summer Artist Development Programme.  For more information on Hackney Empire please visit us at
Hackney Council – Discover young Hackney
Throughout February 2012, Discover Young Hackney gave young people in Hackney the chance to make a mark, showcase talent, get a foot in the door or just try something new. This award-winning festival started in 2007 and has become an annual highlight of Hackney's cultural calendar. It encourages young people's creativity and helps them discover pathways into training and careers in the arts through an exciting programme of events. The festival is developed by Hackney's Cultural Development Team in partnership with Hackney's Youth Arts Cluster, and supported by Hackney Youth Service and Team Hackney. Young people shape the festival from start to finish, and the Discover Young Hackney cultural ambassadors programme has been sighted as a good practice model for involving young people in the arts.