New Years Honours: Music hall genius made an MBE

13:49 29 December 2012

Vincent Hayes runs the Brick lane Music Hall in an old Silvertown church in London’s Docklands, and is breaking the news of his MBE to his family today while on holiday with them in Barbados.

“It was all a complete shock—I’ve been in showbusiness since I was five and this is the first recognition,” said the entrepreneur.

“The award is in confidence until it’s officially announced. So I banned myself from talking about it.

“But I couldn’t keep a secret—I’ll tell the family over dinner.”

The Irish-born showbiz entrepreneur from Galway originally set up his Brick Lane Music Hall in the old Truman Brewery in Spitalfields in 1996, bringing vaudeville and slapstick back to the East End.

But rents rocketed and parking was impossible, so in 2003 he renovated the empty St Mark’s Church in North Woolwich Road, which was on the ‘endangered buildings’ register, and moved in with his diet of musical comedy, song, food and drink—and is fully booked months ahead.

Vincent gets no funding, yet manages a community outreach programme in schools like Beckton’s Tollgate Primary with his paid staff and no volunteers, while making it all pay.

His secret? “I’m an Irish grafter,” he tells you. “I put on musicals people want—panto for grown-ups.”

The father-of-two dared put eldest daughter on the stage—now Erin Hayes, 24, has two Hollywood movies under her belt. His youngest, Lucy, 16, is still at school.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Thursday, April 16, 2015
David Dimbleby  Photo:  Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

The five leaders not in government will debate each other on the BBC

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Struggling with who to vote for? Try one of these quizzes [Picture: Shuttleshock]

Completely undecided about who to vote for in the General Election 2015? You’re not alone - a whopping 33 per cent of British voters are unsure who to back. Fear not, we’ve compiled the best political quizzes to help you make your mind up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
This General Election race had less mud-slinging than most [Ben Birchall/PA Wire]

Everyone loves micropigs, and most people have a few butcher’s choice words to say about politicians. Now the two have been combined in a hammy election race.

Monday, April 13, 2015
Polish prince Janek Zylinski challenged Mr Farage to swordfight or

Nigel Farage could face his deadliest challenge yet, after a Polish prince challenged him to a duel in Hyde Park.

Sunday, April 12, 2015
Mr Nawaz is standing for election in Hampstead and Kilburn  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Hampstead and Kilburn’s Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate has come under fire for getting a naked lap dance at a strip club in east London on his stag night.

Friday, April 10, 2015
Young people are screwed...but things can change

“Things are a bit worse now than they have been in any other election,” Guardian journalist and author Williams says matter-of-factly.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...