New Drama in the Heart of the West EndDate: 26 February 2000
The West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new plays, the Soho Theatre and Writers' Centre, launches its opening season on March 14 with eight new plays.
Converting what was once the Great West End Synagogue in Dean Street into a 200-seat auditorium, plus extensive facilities to provide a unique focus for new and emerging writers, has taken four years and cost £10.6 million.
Entrance to the auditorium is through a glass lobby etched with the names of more than 500 donors who contributed the £2.6million required to match a lottery grant of £8m.
The theatre will open with Four Plays: Four Weeks, a season of four plays by new writers Jonathan Lichtenstein (Station), Holly Phillips (Billy and the Crab Lady), Marta Emmitt (Cadillac Ranch), and Amy Rosenthal (The Jerusalem Syndrome), daughter of Jack Rosenthal and Maureen Lipman.
From April 13-May 13, the Soho Theatre is staging Jump Mr Malinoff, Jump by Toby Whitehouse, winner of the 1998 Verity Bargate Award. This is a comedy about family honour and unrequited love set in a greasy spoon cafe in Southend-on-Sea.
The last play in the season is Stop Kiss by Diana Son, a young American writer, which enjoyed a successful run at the New York Public Theater last year.
With a combination of public funding and private sponsorship, Soho Theatre is committed to keeping ticket prices low to encourage young people to attend. It aims to work with first-time writers of all ages and from all backgrounds to discover tomorrow's new voices as well as new young theatregoers.