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Hampstead Theatre to lose ‘bleak airport’ feel as it closes for £450,000 revamp

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
8:00 AM

Hampstead Theatre closes for refurbishment this week after successfully raising £450,000 towards a major revamp.

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The popular playhouse in Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, announced plans in April for a redesign to the split-level foyer, which has been described by executive producer Greg Ripley-Duggan as a “complete disaster” which feels more like a waiting room at a “bleak eastern European airport”.

After securing the first £350,000 towards the project, Mr Ripley-Duggan launched a public fundraising appeal for the final £100,000 – and that target has now been reached.

The theatre will close for an estimated six weeks following the final performance of current production Wonderland on Saturday (July 26).

It is hoped the improvements will help it become more self-sufficient by boosting profits from food and drink sales, at a time of ongoing public funding cuts for the arts.

A spokesman said: “The redesign will significantly improve the visitor experience for those who visit us throughout the day, whether for coffee, lunch or a performance.

“It will also give us greater flexibility to make the most of Hampstead’s public spaces whilst generating much needed additional income.

“The theatre is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support it has received from the local community and patrons who have generously donated to the appeal and made this project happen.”

Meanwhile, the final showing of Wonderland is to be streamed live online, for free, and then made available on-demand for three days. Visit hampsteadtheatre.com for more information.

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

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