After months of speculation (See News, 30 Jun 2009), Edward Hall, son of former Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre artistic director Sir Peter Hall, has today (13 January 2010) been appointed as artistic director of Hampstead Theatre. He takes over from outgoing artistic director Anthony Clark at the end of this month and will announce his inaugural, autumn season in spring/early summer.

Clark announced in June that he would be stepping down at the end of last year’s 50th anniversary season, after seven – sometimes rocky - years in charge of the new writing centre. He took over in 2003, just after the theatre had moved into its new purpose-built £15.7 million state-of-the-art facility in Swiss Cottage, north London.

Recruitment began last summer for Clark’s successor and, typically, an announcement would have already been made and a handover period arranged. Names previously been bandied about as possible candidates included regular West End directors Lindsay Posner, David Grindley, Anna Mackmin and Thea Sharrock (who has previously run the Gate and Southwark Playhouse), Bush artistic director Josie Rourke, Royal Court associate Ramin Gray and Roger Michell.

This will be the first time that Edward Hall has run a building, but, following in his father’s footsteps, he has become one of the best-known directors of his generation. His award-winning, all-male Shakespeare ensemble company Propeller, which he founded and w’ll continue to lead, regularly mounts productions which tour in the UK and internationally, regularly playing in the West End, at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and festivals around Europe. He is also an associate director of the National Theatre, the Watermill Theatre (Propellor’s home base) and the Old Vic.

Hall’s many other stage credits include: The Deep Blue Sea with Greta Scacchi, Macbeth with Sean Bean, Calico and The Constant Wife in the West End; A Streetcar Named Desire with the late Natasha Richardson on Broadway; Edmond with Kenneth Branagh, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Once in a Lifetime at the National; and Henry V at the RSC. He was nominated for the Laurence Olivier award for Best Director for Rose Rage, his two-part Propeller adaptation of Shakespeare\'s Henry VI trilogy. His TV credits include Strike Back and Spooks.

Speaking about his new appointment, Hall said today: “Hampstead Theatre and I share a passion for finding new audiences for theatre, and I am thrilled to be taking over as artistic director. I am excited by the company’s long and successful association with new writing and with the opportunities the building offers in creating a dynamic dialogue between the audience and the actors.”

Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the Board of Hampstead Theatre said: “Edward has an enormous amount of energy and confidence to bring to the company. He has broad experience across the theatre and film mediums, and an infectious excitement for bringing the most innovative theatre-makers together. We eagerly anticipate his first season.”

Moira Sinclair, executive director of Arts Council England, London added: “We are delighted with Edward Hall\'s appointment ,and we are confident that he will provide a strong artistic vision for Hampstead Theatre as it enters an exciting new phase. We look forward to working with him and the board as the theatre continues to make a significant contribution to local communities and the theatre sector in London.”