Comedy Theatre Renamed After Harold Pinter
The change will be made ahead of the theatre's next production, Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden, which opens on 24 October (previews form 13 October 2011). Dorfman dedicated the English translation of his work to Pinter, who died in December 2008.
Pinter’s The Homecoming, No Man’s Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse, The Lover, The Collection and The Caretaker have all been staged at the theatre. The most recent Pinter revival at the Comedy was Ian Rickson's Betrayal starring Kristin Scott Thomas which finished its run on 20 August 2011.
Pinter also directed The Caretaker as well as Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men and Simon Gray's Otherwise Engaged and The Old Masters at the venue, which has been owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) since 2000.
Speaking about the change of name, ATG’s joint chief executive Howard Panter said in a press statement: “The work of Pinter has become an integral part of the history of the Comedy Theatre. The re-naming of one of our most successful West End theatres is a fitting tribute to a man who made such a mark on British theatre who, over his 50 year career, became recognised as one of the most influential modern British dramatists.”
Lady Antonia Fraser, Pinter's widow, added: “Harold would have been so pleased by this honour and I am very moved at the news.”
The Comedy Theatre is currently dark for six weeks of planned maintenance. New signage will reportedly be unveiled in time for Pinter’s birthday on 10 October 2011. He would have been 81.
The newly christened Harold Pinter Theatre will be the first of ATG's venues to be renamed after a theatrical figure. ATG joint chief executive Rosemary Squire is quoted in The Stage as saying there are no plans to rename any of their other theatres but “wouldn’t rule it out”.