Theatre News

Hampstead Theatre announces new season including The Invention of Love and new Richard Bean play

The north London venue has a variety of London premieres and world premieres lined up

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Artwork for three productions in the season, supplied by the venue

Hampstead Theatre in north London has announced its programme for autumn and winter 2024/5.

The season kicks off with the world premiere of The Lightest Element by Stella Feehily, directed by Hampstead’s associate director Alice Hamilton. This play illuminates the life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, a pioneering 20th-century astronomer who transformed our understanding of stars (5 September to 12 October)

Richard Bean’s Reykjavik will also premiere this season, directed by Emily Burns in her Hampstead Theatre debut (18 October to 23 November). The play revisits the world of the Hull trawler fleet, a theme that Bean successfully explored in his earlier work, Under the Whaleback.

Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love, directed by Blanche McIntyre, will mark the first major UK staging of this play in over 25 years (4 December to 25 January). The piece delves into the life of English poet A E Housman, weaving together themes of academic debate, friendship, and the Oxford University of his youth.

The season on the main stage concludes with East is South (6 February to 15 March), a new thriller by Beau Willimon, directed by Ellen McDougall. Known for creating the Netflix version of House of Cards, Willimon’s play explores the ethical and existential challenges posed by rapidly advancing artificial intelligence.

Hampstead Theatre’s Downstairs studio will open with Bellringers, a debut play by Daisy Hall, directed by Jessica Lazar. Following a season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this production examines the bonds of friendship amidst the backdrop of a dangerous bell-ringing tradition. It runs from 27 September to 2 November.

Rajiv Joseph’s King James, directed by Hamilton, follows two men whose friendship is defined by their shared passion for basketball and their admiration for LeBron James (15 November to 4 January)

Jamie Armitage’s An Interrogation will make its London premiere following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (17 January to 22 February). The gripping drama, inspired by real events and directed by Armitage himself, explores themes of power and deception.

The final production in the Downstairs programme is the world premiere of The Habits by Jack Bradfield, directed by Ed Madden (28 February to 5 April). The play explores the lives of three friends whose fantasy board game adventures begin to blur with their real lives.