Hampstead Theatre has announced the cast for its 60th anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter which due to popular demand has been extended and will now run from 18 November 2020 until 2 January 2021.
Acclaimed stage and screen actors Alec Newman and Shane Zaza will play the roles of Ben and Gus in the staging directed by Alice Hamilton, originally programmed for spring. She is joined by designer James Perkins, with lighting design by James Whiteside and composition and sound design by Giles Thomas.
The Dumb Waiter first premiered as part of Hampstead Theatre’s inaugural season in 1960 directed by Hampstead’s founder James Roose-Evans.
Roxana Silbert, artistic director and joint chief executive of Hampstead Theatre, said: “We have been very moved by the extraordinary demand for tickets for The Dumb Waiter. It is a much-needed reminder of how important theatre is as entertainment, as a place that helps us make sense of the world and of ourselves, for our personal and social well-being, and our need for community and communal experience.
“As our rehearsal room, workshops and offices start to buzz again in the united endeavour to put on a show, we are acutely aware that our industry is entirely dependent on our freelance creative workforce. They are the life blood of the theatre. By opening our doors, we are not only serving audiences but doing what we can to offer much needed employment.
It is, however, a drop in the ocean. We urge the Government to offer a package to freelancers to support them through this pandemic. We can then return even stronger and retain the UK’s position as an international cultural leader. We will need culture more than ever as we leave the European Union, re-evaluate our national identity, and look to attract new investment.”
Alice Hamilton, director of The Dumb Waiter added: “It is wonderful to be in the rehearsal room again getting back to the business of making live theatre. The past few months have brought a strange new resonance to this classic Pinter play and I’m excited to be exploring it now with these two brilliant actors.”
Hampstead Theatre is also relaunching its open script submissions, Inspire and youth theatre following the theatre’s Covid-19 closure. These activities have been adapted for online.
The venue’s year-round open script submissions is now back open. The theatre commits to read and respond to any writer who submits a play in the English language.
Inspire, the theatre’s year-long writers’ group, led by the award-winning playwright, Roy Williams continues online. This year’s writers are Georgina Burns, Isla van Tricht, Kit Sinclair, Kris Phillips, Lucy Foster, Maatin Patel, Maud Dromgoole, Ollie George Clark, Subika Anwar-Khan and Tariq Jordan.
Alec Newman has appeared in many critically-acclaimed television shows, films and stage productions over the years. Recent TV credits include the award-winning BBC period drama Call the Midwife (2020) and psychological thriller TV series Eullenia (2020). His credits at Hampstead Theatre include Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood (2015/16), Andrew Keatley’s Alligators (2016, 2017) and Terry Johnson’s production of Uncle Vanya (2019).
Shane Zaza is known to television audiences for his roles in BBC dramas Happy Valley (2014) and Press (2018); American drama Will (2017) and Netflix’s Black Mirror (2016). Recent theatre credits include Europe at Donmar Warehouse (2019), Dear Elizabeth at Gate Theatre (2019) and Frankenstein at Royal Exchange Theatre (2018). The Dumb Waiter marks Zaza’s debut at Hampstead Theatre.