Sugar sweetens Hackney Empire restoration plan
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Sugar sweetens Hackney Empire restoration plan

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Oundle School
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The 100 year-old Hackney Empire theatre is celebrating a major donation from local-born businessmen, Sir Alan Sugar. Sugar has pledged £1.3m to the Empire, completing its three-year campaign to raise £15m for vital refurbishment, which the theatre has almost never seen since opening in 1901. Having only just escaped demolition in the 1980s, Hackney Empire remains in severe disrepair with a leaking roof, and furniture that, in parts, is held together with sticky tape. Chair of the Empire appeal, comedian Griff Rhys Jones, who himself has donated approximately £250,000 to the cause, is delighted by Sugar's donation, which joins funds of £5m from the Arts Council and £3.85m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The 1500-seater Victorian theatre will host a fund-raising evening on Saturday in celebration of the achievement. Work is due to begin in May and should be completed by August 2002.

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The 100 year-old Hackney Empire theatre is celebrating a major donation from local-born businessmen, Sir Alan Sugar.
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