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Star Wars at the Hackney Empire. No, not a screening of George Lucas' fi lm at the renovated theatre. Sparks flew at last week's debate on 21st Century Towns at the Empire, chaired by Griff Rhys-Jones.

Local politician Eseoghene Okonedo said she was 'the only black person attending', dismissing Jones' claims the theatre reaches out to black communities. Jones said the people at the event had just come along to debate a bit of town planning, and didn't necessarily reflect the audiences that the venue often sees. A case of 'The (Hackney) Empire Strikes Back'?

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