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Hampstead Theatre announces Roxana Silbert's first season as artistic director

The season will open after a refurbishment of the venue's main auditorium

Roxana Silbert
© Kris Askey

Hampstead Theatre's first season under new artistic director Roxana Silbert has been revealed.

The season will open in September following a full refurbishment of the main auditorium, with 45 new seats added.

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's The King of Hell's Palace will open the season, directed by Michael Boyd. Set in '90s China, the piece follows a young health official who uncovers a secret about her country and tries to reveal it to the world. Casting for the piece, which runs from 5 September to 12 October, is to be announced.

Blanche McIntrye will direct Jordan Tannahill's Botticelli in the Fire in its European premiere from 17 October to 23 November. Set in Renaissance Florence, the piece follows the cut-throat world that spawned some of the most famous artists in history.

Tom Morton-Smith's psychological thriller Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer will have its world premiere at the north London venue, where it runs from 28 November to 18 January 2020. The piece is set in Iceland in the '70s, as Cold War tensions simmer during a chess match.

Silbert's first production at the venue, the world premiere of Al Blyth's The Haystack, will run from 31 January 2020 to 7 March 2020. Blyth's first full-length play follows a pair of 20-somethings hired by GCHQ, leading them down a dark path of intelligence operations.

In the Downstairs space there will be two world premieres – Ruby Thomas' Either, about a young couple and directed by Guy Jones (19 September to 26 October), and Chinonyerem Odimba's Unknown Rivers about the power of female friendship, directed by Daniel Bailey (31 October to 7 December).

8000 tickets will be available for under 30s at £10, while there will be offers for customers to see all main stage shows for £30. The venue will also have 'Cheap Mondays' and concessions for over 60s.

Silbert said of the season: "Hampstead is where I fell in love with new plays. When I first arrived in London from a city with no producing theatre and a school with no drama department, I had very little experience of theatre. I saw every production here for the first five years of my London life, usually more than once. My first job was as a Hampstead script reader."