Edward Hall will direct the first in a trio of world premieres at Hampstead Downstairs this autumn as the studio space celebrates its fifth birthday.
The space, which opened in 2010, has built a reputation for offering new writing, acting and directing talent the opportunity to stage projects with the support of the acclaimed theatre away from the usual pressures of press nights and commercial interests.
Continuing in this tradition, the autumn season will include debuts by two new playwrights, Phil Davies and Will Mortimer, alongside a new work by Jacqui Honess-Martin.
Hampstead Theatre’s Artistic Director Hall will follow his recent hits including Sunny Afternoon and Chariots Of Fire to open the season when he directs Davies’ timely first work Firebird from 24 September to 24 October.
Written in response to the Rochdale revelations and other child grooming cases that have been brought to light across the country in recent months, Firebird explores just how the naivety of youth is open to such heinous exploitation through the story of a mouthy young girl and her relationship with an older, charismatic man.
The drama will be followed by Hampstead Theatre’s current Literary Manager Mortimer’s A Further Education. Playing from 30 October to 28 November, the university-set comedy centres on a mature student and the mysterious air she casts around her as she walks into Josh and Lydia’s lives.
Rounding up the season from 10 December to 16 January is Honess-Martin’s warm festive comedy Pine, which tells the stories of the less than fulfilled employees of Christmas Pines.
Gabby may have a first class honours degree and an MA, but she’s still stuck working with Norwegian Spruce. Betty would rather be ice skating with her mates at Somerset House than ‘gaining work experience’. Joe is nursing a broken hand and heart, while Taj can’t decide whether he’s in love with Gabby or Betty. Not one can see the wood for the trees.
The premieres join a busy season for Hampstead Theatre, as its main theatre gets set to house the Simon Russell Beale-led Mr Foote’s Other Leg in September and The Moderate Soprano, starring Roger Allam, later in the autumn.