Hampstead Theatre, located on Eton Avenue, specialises in commissioning and producing new writing and supporting the work of new writers.
The original theatre in South Hampstead was created in 1959 in Moreland Hall, a parish church school hall in Holly Bush Vale, Hampstead Village. James Roose-Evans was the first Artistic Director, and the 1959–1960 season included The Dumb Waiter and The Room by Harold Pinter, Eugène Ionesco’s Jacques and The Sport of My Mad Mother by Ann Jellicoe.
In 1962, the company moved to a portable cabin in Swiss Cottage where it remained for nearly 40 years.
In 2003, the new purpose-built Hampstead Theatre opened in Swiss Cottage. The main auditorium seats 325 people. It was designed by British architectural firm Bennetts Associates, whose work on the project won them a RIBA Award in 2003.
The studio theatre, Hampstead Downstairs, part of the same development, seats up to 100 people and, since 2010, has been run as a development hub for new writing. The current artistic director is Edward Hall who has held the post since 2010; in spring 2019, this will become Roxana Silbert. For young lovers of original theatre, The Downstairs Club is a free membership scheme that offers priority booking and as well as access to £5 tickets for Downstairs.