Save Pentameters Theatre: Hampstead institution searching for £8,000 to ‘stay alive’ after impact of pandemic

Léonie Scott-Matthews and Godfrey Old of Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead. Picture: Daniel Daniel

Léonie Scott-Matthews and Godfrey Old of Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead. Picture: Daniel Daniel - Credit: Archant

A fixture of Hampstead’s cultural scene since the 1960s, Pentameters Theatre in Heath Street has launched a crowdfunder to stay alive as the impact of the pandemic hits hard.

Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead. Picture: Daniel Daniel

Pentameters Theatre, Hampstead. Picture: Daniel Daniel - Credit: Archant

Founded by Léonie Scott-Matthews way back in 1968, the independent theatre – which has never received any government grants or charitable funding – is now trying to raise £8,000 to keep going.

It needs to do “vital repair work” to ensure it is safe to re-open. guarantee it can meet its rent, and keep going for the “foreseeable future”.

The theatre – in the heart of Hampstead – has seen performances from Harold Pinter, Dannie Abse, Rosemary Tonks, and treading the boards there has long been a rite of passage for up-and-coming entertainers.

A small group of regulars are now trying to help Léonie and her partner Godfrey Old keep the theatre afloat.

The fundraiser – found here – offers those who donate a number of incentives, and including posters designed by Godfrey, a signed poetry anthology written by Léonie and even limited edition t-shirts.

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Fundraising evenings are also planned to help the theatre towards its target.

Famous north London names including Bill Nighy are among those to have backed the theatre’s campaign so far.

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Léonie received the British Empire Medal in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list for her services to theatre and to Hampstead.

The theatre is also officially an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

Speaking to the Ham&High after receiving her honour, Léonie said: “Always doing things my way, the alternative way, it can be quite isolating. You think ‘Am I right, or am I wrong?’. I’ve done it in a unique way, single handedly.

“We’ve had our ups and downs in the 51 years we’ve run it, with no financial aid, but we’ve made it work.”

To contribute to the Pentameters Theatre Crowdfunder – visit

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