Hackney Empire Pantomimes

Hackney Empire has produced its own home-grown pantomimes every year since the late 1990’s, all written and directed by the brilliant Susie McKenna. I have worked alongside her, supervising the music, through all those productions. We pride ourselves on our approach, treating each production almost as one would a new piece of musical theatre, with script and songs being carefully crafted to the talented performers we use, and taking advantage of a three-week rehearsal period. The music is always a healthy mix of new original songs in amongst chart hits, together with a sprinkling of trad showbiz and classical; our band is visible and barely a clicktrack in sight – all our singing is always performed live.

In the early days I’d write incidental music and such songs as were required, arrange all the music, and music-direct the show as part of a four-piece band. In latter years the musical side has become more sophisticated, our band has grown to five, and since 2010 the shows have been music-directed by my wonderful colleague and friend, the indefatigable Mark Dickman. I still continue to write new original songs – music and lyrics – as required for each production.

See here for details of my other collaboration with Susie McKenna, our show The Silver Sword.

If you’re putting on a panto and you’d like to use any of my songs, or if you’d like me to write a new one for you, do get in touch!


“The music is a highlight” 
Chris Harvey, Daily Telegraph (Jack and the Beanstalk 2015)

“Musical director Steven Edis, ensures that the show, while giving us golden oldies like Slow Boat to China, speaks to the hip-hop generation.”
Michael Billington, Guardian (Aladdin 2009) 

“…Steve Edis’ fabulous score….I was still dancing as I left the theatre. I was still dancing as I waited for my train home. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still dancing a bit now while I write this – Hackney Empire’s Sleeping Beauty is simply too good not to.”  
Rachel Parris, Hackney Citizen (Sleeping Beauty 2016)

“Steven Edis’ music can scarcely be praised enough. Where other panto’s stump for a solid score of re-worded chart hits, Edis creates a blend of genre pastiches and original tunes that gives Hackney panto it’s own thrilling identity year on year.”  
Stewart Pringle, cor!monkeys

“Susie McKenna and Steven Edis craft a spellbinding show”


The Sun Will Rise (Mother Goose) – sung by Imogen Opie

Hope On Your Side (Mother Goose) – sung by Clive Rowe, Sharon D Clarke and company

We’re Throwing A Ball Tonight (Cinderella) – sung by Tee Jaye and company

A Woman Of My Time (Dick Whittington) – sung by Alexia Khadime

Fairytale Ending (Puss In Boots) – sung by Amy Lennox and Matt Dempsey

The Truth + The Gospel Truth (Puss In Boots) – sung by the company



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