Search

Hampstead Theatre’s £450,000 revamp takes inspiration from supermarket aisles of Sainsbury’s

14:00 03 April 2014

Executive producer Greg Ripley-Duggan in the foyer of Hampstead theatre which is due to be redeveloped. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Executive producer Greg Ripley-Duggan in the foyer of Hampstead theatre which is due to be redeveloped. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The top producer at Hampstead Theatre has revealed that the supermarket aisles of Sainsbury’s helped to inspire plans for a major revamp at the venue.

Greg Ripley-Duggan hopes the £450,000 refurbishment of the theatre’s foyer will help protect it from public funding cuts and secure its future for the next 100 years.

The executive producer says parts of the lobby area are currently a “complete disaster” and feel more like a waiting room at a “bleak eastern European airport”.

He was speaking last week after launching a public fundraising appeal for the popular venue in Eton Avenue.

He explained that plans to refurbish the split-level foyer, box office and cafe space started with the appointment in September 2012 of a new chairman, David Tyler, who is also the chairman of Sainsbury’s.

“He took one look and said, the people flow is all wrong,” Mr Ripley-Duggan told the Ham&High.

“It all started when he came in. He looked at it and said ‘I’m a retail man and this just doesn’t work’.

“He brought in a few people who designed Sainsbury’s superstores and it all flowed from that.

“We’re applying elementary retail science to what is a retail space.”

The theatre is calling on the community to raise £100,000 towards the refurbishment, which will take place over six weeks in the summer, after already securing the first £350,000.

The aim is to generate more money from trading, by selling more drinks and snacks at intervals and improving the daytime cafe experience.

The boost in trading revenue would help the theatre to “stand on its own feet” at a time when there is “no question that government aid is going to decline”.

Mr Ripley-Duggan says the theatre’s Arts Council grant of £870,000 has already been frequently “salami sliced” in recent years. Meanwhile, box office takings have hit a ceiling, with average attendance at 98 per cent in the last financial year.

“It’s all about securing the future of the institution and enabling it to strengthen so that it will be here in 50 to 100 years time,” he said.

The redesign will see the bar, box office and a staircase moved to open up space, allowing for more tables and meaning the place gets less “clogged up” so it will be easier to reach the bar. The “bleak” basement level will be spruced up.

The theatre is also “cautiously” reviewing the possibility of opening a restaurant by bringing its large unused kitchen into play.

Mr Ripley-Duggan said: “The ambition on stage really is the reason for all this. It’s about being able to mount bigger productions and being able to spend bigger money on the work.”

The theatre is also keen to ease the burden on its team of 19 by increasing staff numbers.

“I do worry about killing all these nice kids out there – we’re just working them into the ground,” he said.

“We have 14 productions a year. I don’t know how we do that really.

“Everyone gets the 1,000-yard stare after a bit. We will get to a point where it will become unsustainable.”

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Fri, 16:46
St Pancras Hospital, where Camden and Islington Trust is based. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Health chiefs are taking action at the Royal Free Hospital after inspectors found ‘ligature points’ that could help patients kill or harm themselves

Fri, 12:54
Alamin, Shalim and Khaled Kazi (l to r)

Three members of a Camden family have been jailed for being part of an organised moped gang responsible for a “prolific” crime spree across London.

Thu, 18:00
Activists Dr Wolfgang Kieran and Chris Roche hand petition to Catherine West MP, who supports their campaign. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Activists say the library must stay in its Grade II-listed building – but Haringey Council’s choice is to move the service to the site of the former Green Man pub on Muswell Hill

Thu, 17:32
Jude Rogers impressed Tim Peake on board the International Space Station

An entrepeneurial pupil had his film broadcast to Tim Peake on the International Space Station – and was invited to Downing Street to welcome the astronaut home.

Thu, 11:25
A Highgate resident believes this unwelcome visitor may have beeen attracted by overflowing bins

Nearly half of Camden residents face having their weekly rubbish collections reduced to fortnightly from next April under radical proposals designed to save the council £5 million and “incentivise recycling”.

Two diners were injured in the accident involving an unmarked police car   pictures: Emily Banks

Diners at Pizza East restaurant in Highgate Road were injured when an unmarked police car on an emergency call was in collision with another car .

Mon, 18:35
Geography teacher Kato Harris wept as a jury cleared him of all charges

A Geography teacher has told of the “massive stress” of being accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old pupil in the classroom of his Camden school.

Mon, 17:45
Nearly 4,000 pupils were excluded for reasons including racist abuse and sexual misconduct across Camden, Haringey and Barnet. Picture: PA

Racist abuse, sexual misconduct and drug and alcohol offences – these are some of the reasons why nearly 4,000 Camden, Haringey and Barnet pupils were excluded from schools last year.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now