Major theatre owner Ambassador Theatre Group has announced that it will rename one of its London playhouses in honour of playwright, screen writer and director Harold Pinter, who died in 2008.
The Comedy Theatre on Panton Street, which opened in 1881 as the Royal Comedy Theatre, will be called The Harold Pinter Theatre from 13 October 2011. Its first production will be a revival of Death and the Maiden starring Thandie Newton.
The renaming of a London theatre after a theatre professional follows theatre owner Cameron Mackintosh’s decision in the 90’s and 2000’s to rename the Albery, Strand and the Globe theatres after Noel Coward, Ivor Novello and John Gielgud respectively.
The Comedy Theatre, which was designed by Thomas Verity and built by J. H. Addison, has a long association with Pinter and has been home to seven Pinter productions in the last 21 years including The Homecoming, No Man’s Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse, The Caretaker with Michael Gambon, The Lover The Collection starring Gina McKee, and most recently Betrayal starring Kristin Scott Thomas. Pinter also directed at the venue, including Otherwise Engaged by Simon Gray, Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose and The Old Masters by Simon Gray.
The first show to open at the newly named Harold Pinter Theatre, on 13 October, will be Death and The Maiden by Ariel Dorfman starring Thandie Newton.
Ambassador Theatre Groups ’s Joint Chief Executive and Creative Director Howard Panter said that, “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.”
Harold Pinter wrote 32 plays, 22 screenplays and directed 36 theatre productions throughout his long career. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.