New End Theatre's curtain call
PUBLISHED: 15:29 22 August 2011 | UPDATED: 16:05 22 August 2011
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»Expensive overheads and a lack of public funding are forcing the New End Theatre to shut its doors for the last time next Sunday.
The theatre, which has been open at 27 New End since 1974, has to search for premises elsewhere as it cannot afford to remain in its current home.
Bosses are hoping to find other premises in Hampstead but it is likely there will be no productions for at least six months.
The New End building is due to be converted into a small synagogue.
Chief executive and artistic director Brian Daniels, who has worked at the theatre for 14 years, said: “The high costs of running a theatre in Hampstead without subsidy has led to us closing.
“It is very difficult to run a theatre without public funding. The building needs a lot of work and we have not got the resources to spend on it.
“People are terribly sad that we are closing and a lot of people have told me they are devastated.
“You either use the theatre or lose it and there is resistance to ticket price rises.”
The theatre has a friends group with around 250 members but it is sadly not enough to keep it alive.
Resident Roger Montgomery said: “The theatre says they will relocate but I doubt they can afford Hampstead rents. It is a sad day and we will miss them. They put on really good shows.”
Theatre-goer Elaine Wright added: “I am very sorry to hear it is closing. It is a big loss for Hampstead and very sad for the area.
“We have gone to the theatre over the years. I wish we had been given the chance to rescue it and start a petition.”
Mr Daniels said that he is looking for more cost effective premises in Hampstead.
“If any Ham&High readers have heard of anything then please let us know,” he said. “I am very sad to be leaving but we have to face reality.”