The 2017 Carnival Collective put on a show. Photograph: Hackney Shed

Two Hackney-based theatre companies are joining forces for the second year running this summer to host a free carnival-themed drama project for young adults with autism or learning disabilities.

Hackney Shed and Access All Areas are each putting on workshops in July and August, with participants then having a chance to perform at the borough’s carnival in September.

The Hackney Carnival Collective, which is aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds, proved a huge hit last year.

This year’s troupe will work on music, dancing and costumes in collaboration with professional artists.

The Shed’s artistic director Vicki Hambley said: “We are very excited to work with Access All Areas again on the Carnival Collective this summer.

“The Hackney Carnival is a great tradition and we are looking forward to building up our own tradition of collaborating together.”

Hambley said the project allows young people to get together “in a safe space to be creative and build friendships”, adding: “The Hackney Carnival is the perfect way to celebrate the culmination of the work they have created over the summer.”

Last year’s cohort take part in the Hackney Carnival. Photograph: Hackney Shed

This summer’s Collective will be made up of two parts.

Hackney Shed will host the first workshop from 11am-4pm on 25-27 July, and Access All Areas will put on the second at the same times on 28-31 August.

Both parts will take place at Chats Palace in Homerton.

Those interested in taking part can attend one or both of the free workshops, and will have an opportunity to perform at the Hackney Carnival on Sunday 9 September.

A spokesperson for Access All Areas said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Hackney Shed for the second year running.

“As two theatre companies that are embedded in the local community, Hackney Carnival gives us the opportunity to showcase our work to the borough’s wider audiences, and to set a positive example both of and for young people with learning disabilities and autism on a wider stage.”

For more information, or to book a place for Hackney Shed’s workshop, please contact barry@hackneyshed.org.uk or call 07950 838 238

To book a place for Access All Area’s workshop, please contact alex@accessallareastheatre.org or call 0207 613 6445

Both events take place at Chats Palace, 42–44 Brooksby’s Walk, E9 6DF


The coronavirus outbreak sadly means the Hackney Citizen is unable to print a monthly newspaper for the first time in its 12-year history.

At a time when independent and trusted news is more important than ever, this was an incredibly difficult decision to have to make.

Without print advertising, our major source of income, a one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

When Hackney and the wider world has fought off this virus and we return to some semblance of normality, the print edition will be back.

Find out how you can donate

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.