Queen honours East End’s music-hall genius Vincent Hayes with an MBE

Vincent Hayes runs the Brick lane Music Hall in an old Silvertown church in London’s Docklands, but didn’t expect his MBE awarded today while he’s on holiday in Barbados with his family.

“It was all a complete shock—I’ve been in showbusiness since I was five and this is the first recognition,” said the 50-something entrepreneur when contacted just hours before the announcement.

“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.


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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.

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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 his eldest daughter on the stage—now Erin Hayes, 24, has two Hollywood movies under her belt. His youngest, Lucy, 16, is still at school taking her A-Levels after getting 11 A* GCSE grades in the summer.

Watch these two rising stars as well as dad.

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