Hampstead Theatre – located on Eton Avenue – is a haven for London’s new writers and playwrights. This venue specialises in the commission and production of new theatre in the capital.
In 1959, the original home of the theatre was a parish church school hall in Holly Bush Vale, Hampstead Village. James Roose-Evans acted as the first Artistic Director and selected The Dumb Waiter and The Room by Harold Pinter, as well as Eugène Ionesco’s Jacques and The Sport of My Mad Mother by Ann Jellicoe, for its first season. The theatre then moved to a portable cabin in Swiss Cottage and stayed there for a remarkable 40 years, from 1962-2002.
The new purpose-built Hampstead Theatre in Swiss Cottage had its long-awaited grand opening in 2003. It was well worth the wait as the building, including a 325-seat auditorium, won a RIBA Award in 2003 for its designers, British architectural firm Bennetts Associates.
As part of the same development, Hampstead Downstairs is a studio seating up to 100 people. Since 2010, the space has been a development hub for the new writing that the theatre is so proud to support. Its artistic director, Edward Hall, has brought about this creative change having instigated since his first year in the post. For lovers of original and vibrant writing, The Downstairs Club offers a free membership scheme that gives priority booking and access to £5 tickets for Downstairs.