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Artistic Director Edward Hall announces Hampstead Theatre’s spring/summer 2018 season

Season preview

Artistic Director Edward Hall has announced Hampstead Theatre’s spring/summer season and it includes:

The UK premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s darkly comic post-truth play Describe the Night directed by Lisa Spirling.

The world premiere of Jemma Kennedy’s blisteringly entertaining Genesis Inc. directed by Laurie Sansom.

The world premiere of Fiona Doyle’s haunting and provocative new drama The Strange Death of John Doe directed by Artistic Director Edward Hall for Hampstead Downstairs. The production is a Hampstead Theatre commission and a finalist for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Under 30s will be able to access Priority Booking for all shows via The Downstairs Club – Hampstead’s free membership scheme to allow better access to the cheaper seats.

Speaking about Hampstead Theatre’s work, Edward Hall said:

“Next year will mark Hampstead Theatre’s 60th birthday. Since 1959, Hampstead has always committed itself to discovering and presenting a variety of top quality new plays by established, emerging or debut writers. I’m proud to report that right now, both of our plays – the UK premiere of Sarah Burgess’ Dry Powder on the Main Stage and Georgia Christou’s debut play Yous Two Downstairs – are playing to full houses. Rehearsals are also underway for Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s breathtaking musical Caroline, or Change, which makes a highly anticipated transfer from Chichester to Hampstead next month.

“Furthermore, I’m delighted to announce three new plays: the UK premiere of multi award-winning playwright Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night, Jemma Kennedy’s breakthrough new play Genesis Inc. and Fiona Doyle’s haunting story of The Strange Death of John Doe, commissioned and developed by Hampstead, which is a finalist this year for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. So, as we approach a major milestone next year, I’m pleased to say that Hampstead’s in a very exciting place, filled with talented, bold and ambitious creatives delivering world class entertainment to a vibrant and captivated audience. Long may it continue.”

The season opens with the UK premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night which runs from May 9 (previews from April 30) to June 9.

When we say that something is true, it becomes true. When we say that something is false, it becomes false… There is nothing that cannot eventually be crossed out and changed.

In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel reports on a Red Cavalry campaign in Poland. In 1936, Stalin’s NKVD chief Nicolai Yezhov unleashes the Great Purge. In 1989, a mysterious KGB agent spying on a woman in Dresden falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes near the Russian city of Smolensk…

Directed by Lisa Spirling, this darkly comic fantasia on Russian themes explores the blurred lines between lies, fiction and conspiracy theories, as it tracks back and forth across 90 years of Soviet and post-Soviet history in search of the genesis of the post-truth world.

Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. His play Guards at the Taj was a 2016 Obie Winner for Best New American Play and 2016 Lucille Lortel Winner for Best Play. Another of his plays, Archduke, received its world premiere this spring at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. His other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Monster at the Door, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool and Mr. Wolf.

Lisa Spirling is the Artistic Director of Theatre503. She returns to Hampstead Theatre to direct following Deposit, Ken, Pine, Fault Lines and I Know How I Feel About Eve (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs). Her other credits include In Event of Moone Disaster, Cotton Wool (Theatre503); Jumpy (Theatr Clwyd); Hello/Goodbye (Singapore Rep Theatre); Donkeys’ Years, Here (Rose Theatre); Enron (West End Recast and UK Tour), Idiots of Ants (Pleasance, Edinburgh/Arts Theatre); Boeing Boeing (Alley Theatre, Texas) and Gas and Air (Pleasance, London).

For more information, call the box office on 020 7722 9301 or visit