Posted on 17 May 2024.

Posted in: Main Stage


Running from September to March the new programme includes world premieres of plays by Stella Feehily, Richard Bean, Beau Willimon and Jack Bradfield, the UK premiere of a play by Rajiv Joseph, debut plays by Daisy Hall and Jamie Armitage, plus a major new staging of a Tom Stoppard play. Seven of the eight plays are new works.


Tickets for the new season go on sale to patrons and members from today, Friday 17 May, and to Hampstead Theatre Friends on Tuesday 21 May. Public booking opens on Tuesday 28 May.


The season opens with the world premiere of The Lightest Element by Stella Feehily directed by Hampstead’s Associate Director Alice Hamilton. The play shines a light on one of the most eminent astronomers of the 20th Century, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who one hundred years ago changed our perception of stars.


Richard Bean returns to Hampstead Theatre with the world premiere of Reykjavik revisiting the vanished world of the Hull trawler fleet that gave him his early hit, Under the Whaleback. Reykjavik, will be directed by Emily Burns who makes her Hampstead Theatre debut.


Tom Stoppard also returns to Hampstead Theatre following last year’s triumphant revival of Rock ‘n’ Roll with his play about the English poet, A. E. Housman, The Invention of Love. Blanche McIntyre directs what will be the first major UK staging of Stoppard’s play in over 25 years.


The world premiere of East is South by the American stage and screen writer Beau Willimon concludes the season on the Main Stage. This tense new thriller from the creator of the Netflix series House of Cards dives headlong into the world of rapidly advancing technology and will be directed by Ellen McDougall.


Hampstead’s programme for the Downstairs studio opens with Bellringers, a brilliant debut play from Daisy Hall who was a finalist in this year’s Women’s Prize for Playwriting. Directed by Jessica Lazar Bellringers is a Hampstead Theatre co-production with Atticist and Ellie Keel Productions, and this world premiere production opens Downstairs after a season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph then returns to Hampstead with King James – a wonderfully funny and remarkably moving new play, directed by Alice Hamilton, about the friendship between two men thrown together by chance and their mutual passion for basketball - and the great ‘King’ LeBron James.


Following a sell-out run and rave reviews at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival Jamie Armitage’s An Interrogation receives its London premiere. Inspired by real events this debut play by the Tony Award-nominated co-director of the worldwide phenomenon SIX: The Musical is a gripping drama about power, deception and our perspectives on the truth.


The final production in the Downstairs programme is the world premiere of The Habits by Jack Bradfield, about the regular meetings of a group of fantasy board-game enthusiasts. Ed Madden directs a play that asks whether this is just escapism, or whether the skills they develop for the game are of use in their own lives.


Greg Ripley-Duggan, Producer and Chief Executive of Hampstead Theatre said:


“Hampstead Theatre’s commitment to championing the original is at the heart of our autumn season - a season that comprises a line-up of brilliant, ingenious and surprising work by playwrights at every stage of their careers – from first-time writers to the internationally acclaimed.


“I am particularly thrilled that Tom Stoppard has granted us the rights to present the first major UK production of The Invention of Love since its premiere over 25 years ago. It’s a thrill to be working with Tom once again following the phenomenal success of last year’s production of Rock ‘n’ Roll which became the biggest selling show in Hampstead’s history.


“This season of work will be on our stages when we mark the second anniversary of Arts Council England cutting all funding to the theatre. But we continue to present new plays and productions by leading artists – this will bring the total to 22 since the cut - without the safety-net of Arts Council funding. This is only possible thanks to the philanthropic generosity of our supporters, to the loyalty of our wonderful audiences, and to the astonishing commitment and determination of the small but brilliant team at Hampstead.”


Last November, Hampstead Theatre launched a dedicated campaign #HampsteadAhead to drive additional philanthropic support following the 100% cut in its Arts Council England funding. Championed by writers and actors including Jemma Redgrave, Tamsin Greig and Roy Williams amongst others, the campaign has now generated over £1.1m, while regular giving from the theatre’s loyal members and donors has continued. As Hampstead today relies on annual philanthropic support of £1.3m, the #HampsteadAhead campaign will continue and in January 2025, the theatre will host a gala fundraising evening with Tom Stoppard.


Hampstead Theatre also continues to open doors for writers. Its annual INSPIRE programme led by the award-winning playwright Roy Williams heads into its sixth year supporting 12 writers to create a full-length play. This year also sees a new Community Writers’ Room which will support nine first-time local writers to collaboratively write a full-length play. Funded by Camden Council and led by playwright Sonali Bhattacharyya alongside Hampstead’s Participation Director Jennifer Davis the play will be given a staged reading on Hampstead’s Main Stage.



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