Designed by Bennetts Associates, it will be the first new stand-alone theatre in London since the National opened in 1976. In addition to the main auditorium, which will seat up to 325 people, there is a studio space that will concentrate on community and youth theatre.
However well-equipped a theatre may be, actors often have to rehearse in chilly church halls miles from where they will eventually perform. Hampstead hopes to overcome this by providing a dedicated rehearsal room with a floor area to match the main stage and its wings.
A cafe bar will provide the attractive catering facilities that theatregoers now expect in modern buildings, and which the Royal Opera House and the Royal Court theatre have both achieved. Some £13 million has been raised to pay for the new Hampstead Theatre, which is looking to raise a further £1 million to secure its long-term security.
The theatre will be launched on Feb. 13 with the press night of How to Behave, by Station House Opera, a performance company specializing in multi-media shows.
Beginning Feb. 27, Hampstead will present The Safari Party, a new play by Tim Firth, directed by Sir Alan Ayckbourn. Further plays lined up for the spring season are Fragile Land by award-winning writer Tanika Gupta; In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings by Stephen Adly Guirgis (author of Jesus Hopped The A Train); and Born Bad by Debbie Tucker Green, directed by Kathy Burke.