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Hampstead Theatre to invest £1m in new productions

PUBLISHED: 18:02 02 April 2015 | UPDATED: 18:02 02 April 2015

Hampstead Theatre. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Hampstead Theatre. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Hampstead Theatre is to invest £1million in bringing new productions to the stage as it celebrates unprecedented success after being nominated for seven Olivier Awards.

Greg Ripley-Duggan, executive producer of Hampstead Theatre. Picture: Polly HancockGreg Ripley-Duggan, executive producer of Hampstead Theatre. Picture: Polly Hancock

The theatre, which described the significant cash injection as an “investment in the future of theatre”, has already raised half-a-million pounds and is looking for the remainder through donations.

The playhouse in Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, says the funding “will help us to continue with our ambition to find and make world-class theatre that is entertaining and original”.

Edward Hall, artistic director of Hampstead Theatre, said: “This is our investment in the future of theatre. Britain has an undisputed reputation as the source of some of the greatest writing in the world, and this financial injection of life into the commissioning landscape will support the enormous pool of talent that we enjoy. Responding to the climate of our times we have created a partnership with the generous help of the AKO Foundation to bring significant private commissioning money into the subsidised theatre sector. This will help us to continue with our ambition to find and make world-class theatre that is entertaining and original.”

It comes after judges nominated three of the theatre’s recent productions for seven Olivier Awards, giving it the second highest number of nominations for any producing theatre. The awards ceremony will take place on April 12.

Since Mr Hall took over the theatre with executive producer Greg Ripley-Duggan in 2010, the playhouse has produced 55 new plays and introduced a further 17 to the UK. Their productions have been watched by over half-a-million people.

The pair say their success comes from the “identifying and producing of a wide variety of plays for a broad audience, from the intellectually demanding to light entertainment”.

Their fundraiser launch has been heavily aided by hedge fund manager Nicolai Tangen, who set up the AKO Foundation supporting education and the arts.

The foundation will match any money raised by Hampstead Theatre by up to £500,000. So far, £250,000 has been raised with the other £250,000 still to go.

Mr Tangen said: “In these uncertain financial times, I am delighted that the AKO Foundation is able to contribute to the vibrant landscape of new writing in the excellent hands of Edward Hall and Greg Ripley-Duggan, whose programming, especially when it comes to championing new work, has brought unprecedented success to the theatre. I hope that the Foundation’s endowment will build on that momentum as Hampstead continues to seek and encourage fresh discovery to entertain as wide an audience as possible.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the project should contact Liberty Oberlander at libertyo@hampsteadtheatre.com or 020 7449 4174.


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