Hackney’s young people reveal their talent

Hackney Empire s stage was bursting with talent on Friday night (23 January) at the launch of Hackney Council s arts and cultural festival for 11 to 19 year olds, Discover Young Hackney (DYH) ’09.

Over 900 people turned out to see Choice FM DJ and entertainer Kat B present four finalists and guest acts at the I m In talent contest. The Empire’s British Sign Language interpreted show was packed with high energy performances and lively entertainment.

Local young singers, dancers, musicians and hip hop artists had all been chosen by their peers - DYH’s Young Cultural Ambassadors - to take part in the event and received rousing cheers from an appreciative audience.

The talent contest kicked off DYH ’09, the month-long arts and cultural festival, shaped by young people for young people. DYH promotes participation and training in the arts through a range of taster sessions and workshops run by creative professionals in music, dance, radio, art, photography, fashion design, singing, film and theatre.

“My experience of working with the festival has helped me start my own company, by giving me the opportunity to show what I can do and develop my skills”, said Mekel Edwards, 20, Hackney Empire Young Producer and co-producer of the talent show. “Hackney’s got talent and the festival enables young people to find out just how creative they can be.”

Contest winners, girl band L’Amour, were a popular choice made by the judges on the night. The three-piece act wowed everyone with their tight harmonies in a thrilling rendition of the well known hit Halo.

Band member Lusha Thompson-Allen, 18, said: “Tonight has been amazing. I’ve gained so much experience by taking part in the festival, in a way that I didn’t think possible before I began. I am looking forward to the other events, like promoting yourself in the media and the music workshops, which will really help us.”

Discover Young Hackney, now in its third year, is delivered by Hackney’s Cultural Development Team in partnership with Hackney’s Youth Arts Cluster and supported by Team Hackney and Hackney Youth Service.

Between 14 February and 14 March, Hackney s vibrant arts and culture sector will engage young people and showcase their work at more than 15 free sessions and workshops across the borough.

For more information including details of all the events visit: or Alternatively, contact Hackney Council’s Cultural Development Team on 020 8356 7209 or email: