West End transfer for Mike Leigh’s Hampstead Theatre hit

Hampstead Theatre’s Ecstacy will move to the West End in April

EDWARD Hall’s tenure at Hampstead Theatre goes from strength to strength with a West End transfer for current hit show Ecstasy - and forthcoming plays directed by stage and screen veterans Roger Michell and Richard Eyre.

The artistic director, who has boosted the box office take at the theatre to 72percent, persuaded renowned film director Mike Leigh to revive a play he created at Hampstead in 1979.

Set in a seedy Kilburn High Road bedsit, Ecstasy opened to warm reviews earlier this month and broke box office records at Hampstead with a sell out run.

It transfers to the Duchess Theatre from April 12 for 50 performances.

Mike Leigh said: “Of my own plays, Ecstasy is my favourite. For years I have wanted to share its passion, its comedy, its sadness and its songs with a new, wider audience, and now, with my wonderful young cast, I am delighted to have the opportunity to do so.”

Mr Hall, who took over last February, added: “We have been unable to cope with demand for tickets at Hampstead so this transfer is doubly important both for the theatre and for the audience for Mike’s work. It is enormously exciting to see Hampstead back in the West End once again.”

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Mr Hall announced his next season at Hampstead will include four world premieres including a new play by award-winning writer Nicholas Wright. The Last of the Duchess will be directed by former National Theatre director Richard Eyre, whose film work includes Iris and Notes on a Scandal.