HAMPSTEAD THEATRE is a theatre in the vicinity of Swiss Cottage and Belsize Park, in the London Borough of Camden, NW3. It specialises in commissioning and producing new writing, supporting and developing the work of new writers. In 2009 it celebrates its 50 year anniversary.
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE HISTORY
The original theatre (The Hampstead Theatre Club) was created in Moreland Hall in 1959. James Roose-Evans was the first Artistic Director, and the 1959–1960 season included The Dumb Waiter and The Room by Harold Pinter, Eugene Ionesco's Jacques and The Sport of My Mad Mother by Ann Jellicoe. In 1962 the company moved to a portable cabin in Swiss Cottage where it remained for nearly 40 years, before, in 2003, the new purpose-built Hampstead Theatre opened in Swiss Cottage. The main auditorium now seats between 150 and 325 people. The studio theatre, the Michael Frayn Space, seats up to 80 people and hosts Heat&Light, Hampstead Theatre's Young Company for ages 10-25. Heat&Light produces 12 productions each year, including, previously, new plays by Bola Agbaje, Mike Bartlett, Joel Horwood, Jane Bodie, Ed Hime, Nick Grosso and John Donnelly.
As part of its commitment to developing new writers and new writing, the theatre nurtures and commissions playwrights, and also hosts regular Start Nights, where extracts of new plays are performed to an audience who give their constructive feedback on what they have seen.
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE ARTISTIC DIRECTORS
James Roose-Evans (1959-1971)
Vivian Matalon (1971-1973
Michael Rudman (1973-1978)
David Aukin (1978-1984)
Michael Attenborough (1984-1988)
Jenny Topper (1988-2003)
Anthony Clark (2003-2010)
Edward Hall (2010-)
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE PLAYWRIGHTS
Playwrights who have had their early work produced at the theatre include:
debbie tucker green
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE: EDWARD HALL INTRODUCTION
I’m Edward Hall, Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre – a very warm welcome to you. I’d love to tell you a little bit about what we do here at Hampstead.
Hampstead Theatre, a leading theatre for new writing, is dedicated to creating engaging and enriching plays that give voice to the issues of the day. We are dedicated to debating the ethical, moral and political issues that are so important to us, and we set ourselves the highest standards in presenting rich and relevant work. At the same time, we maintain a commitment to investing in the talent of the future; our long history bears witness to our dedication to discovering the next generation of writers, actors, and directors.
For example, Mike Leigh has had a long and happy relationship with Hampstead Theatre. His revival of Ecstasy, which was first performed at Hampstead Theatre in 1979, generated an unprecedented demand for tickets. So much so, that Ecstasy transferred to the West End last month – a fitting punctuation mark to my first season as Artistic Director.
I am also hugely excited about my company Propeller coming to the Theatre this June. The prospect of bringing Propeller to Hampstead is an enormously exciting one as it gives us a chance to pitch work of an epic scale in an intimate space. The Comedy of Errors and Richard III has been playing on tour in major theatres in New York, Boston, Michigan and all over the UK.
Despite our artistic successes, Hampstead Theatre still faces financial challenges, especially in this tough funding climate. Although we have been granted the majority of our funding, we have still faced a cut of 11%.
The courage to put on stage bold, ambitious and thought-provoking productions costs money. In order to make our work possible – from commissioning new or established writers to staging major new productions in the main house and from our experimental work Downstairs to running the Heat&Light Young Company – we need your help.
Would you consider becoming part of the Hampstead Theatre family by becoming a friend or joining our Patrons scheme? As a Patron you will receive a host of generous benefits including priority booking, invitations to exclusive Patron evenings, special events, talks and tours – and the opportunity to go behind the scenes and get right to the heart of the Theatre.
We are striving to create a local theatre with world-class productions to make you proud. With the right support we can genuinely respond to the needs of any play, big or small, finished or in early development, and this makes us unique.
I encourage you to support us here at Hampstead Theatre. Your generosity will make the work we do here possible, and for that, in advance, I thank you. See you soon in NW3.