Hampstead Theatre has announced its spring/summer 2020 programme, Hampstead Classics, celebrating 60 years of original theatre.
Featuring four bold plays from the theatre’s eclectic archive, the productions will be performed in chronological order and staged in the thrust, by a variety of distinctive British directors.
Roxana Silbert, artistic director of Hampstead Theatre, said:
“Selecting only four plays from Hampstead Theatre’s massive backlist of world premieres was a real challenge and it really hit home just what a powerhouse this modest theatre is. The range, diversity and singularity of the voices is extraordinary, as is how often they bring untold stories into the light.
“Hampstead has always supported established writers and launched new ones by creating a space for artists to experiment and be heard. May the next sixty years continue this wonderful tradition.”
Harold Pinter’s black comedy The Dumb Waiter will open Hampstead Classics, running from 19 March until 18 April 2020. Originally presented in Hampstead Theatre’s first ever season, The Dumb Waiter was directed by its founder and artistic director, James Roose Evans, and received its UK premiere in January 1960.
Alice Hamilton will direct this classic play, often referred to as “Pinter distilled”, after her recent success at the theatre with Every Day I Make Greatness Happen and Paradise.
Tennessee Williams’ innovative and partly autobiographical work, The Two Character Play, will run from 24 April until 23 May. Also originally directed by Evans, the play received its world premiere at Hampstead in 1967.
Sam Yates will direct, making a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre following his critically acclaimed production of The Phlebotomist.
Alfred Fagon’s tribute to the culture of London’s King’s Road in the 1970s, The Death of a Black Man, will run from 28 May until 27 June. Fagon was one of the first British black writers to have his work produced in the UK; he was a boxing champion, a welder, an actor, poet and playwright who died at the early age of 49 (1986). The Alfred Fagon Award was set up after his sudden death to support British black playwrights and honour his name. The original production of The Death of a Black Man was directed by Roland Rees in 1975.
Founder and former artistic director of Eclipse Theatre Company, Dawn Walton, will direct.
Legendary American writer Marsha Norman’s ground-breaking play ‘night, Mother will close Hampstead Classics, running from 2 July until 1 August. The original Hampstead production was directed by its then artistic director, Michael Attenborough, giving the play its European premiere in 1985. The play had already won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1983), the Susan Smith Blackburn Award (1982-83) and earned four Tony Award nominations. Hampstead Theatre’s artistic director, Roxana Silbert, will direct this new production.
Hampstead Downstairs, the theatre’s studio space, will continue to support new voices as Hannah Khalil makes her Hampstead debut with the world premiere of Sleepwalking which runs from 26 March until 2 May. The thriller will be directed by Audrey Sheffield, who makes her Hampstead Theatre directorial debut.
Ruby Thomas joins Hampstead to complete her one-year playwright-in-residence attachment, as a Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme 2019 winner, which celebrates and supports emerging British writing talent. Thomas had recent success with her first play Either which had its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre.
The Mono Box and Creative Multilingualism will continue to work in-house at Hampstead Theatre as associate companies.
Hampstead Theatre is marking its 60th anniversary throughout the course of its 2019/2020 season. Celebratory events have already taken place to mark the occasion including a special fundraising event to raise funds for the Under 30s £10 ticket scheme, and the refurbishment and expansion of Hampstead’s Main Stage auditorium.
Roxana Silbert will make her directing debut at Hampstead Theatre with Al Blyth’s new play The Haystack which runs until 7 March 2020.
Casting for Hampstead Classics will be announced in due course.