Jermyn Street Theatre

Jermyn Street Theatre
JermynStreetTheatre.jpg
AddressJermyn Street
London, SW1
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°30′33″N 0°08′04″W / 51°30′33″N 0°08′04″W / 51.5092; -0.1345

Jermyn Street Theatre is a performance venue situated on Jermyn Street, in London’s West End. It is an off-west end studio theatre.

History

Jermyn Street opened in August 1994. Formerly the changing rooms for staff at the Spaghetti House restaurant, it was transformed under the leadership of Howard Jameson and Penny Horner into a 70-seat studio theatre.[1] They both remain the Chair of the Board and Executive Director respectively. In 1995, Neil Marcus[2] became the first Artistic Director and Jermyn Street received their Lottery Grant in 1997.[3] During this time, producer Chris Grady contributed to Jermyn Street Theatre’s development. HRH Princess Michael of Kent became the theatre’s patron in 1995[4] and David Babani[5], later the founder of the Menier Chocolate Factory, took over as artistic director in 1998 until 2001.

Jermyn Street Theatre has become a staple of London’s off-west end studio theatre. It received a lot of attention following successful productions of Barefoot in the Park directed by Sally Hughes and starring Alan Cox and Rachel Pickup,[6] and Helping Harry directed by Nickolas Grace and starring Adrian Lukis and Simon Dutton.[7] In the late 2000s, under the artistic direction of Gene David Kirk[8], Jermyn Street expanded its repertoire to include revivals of obscure plays such as the UK premiere of St John’s Night by Henrik Ibsen[9],  Little Eyolf starring Imogen Stubbs and Doreen Mantle by Henrik Ibsen[10], and the postwar classic The River Line by Charles Morgan.[11] Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall, premiered at Jermyn Street Theatre in 2012, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon.[12] It then transferred to the Arts Theatre[13] and later would transfer to the New York’s 59E59 Theatre[14] In 2011, Jermyn Street Theatre received a Peter Brook Empty Space Award nomination. One year later, the theatre won The Stage 100 Best Fringe Theatre.[15]

Following the rising success of Jermyn Street Theatre under the artistic direction of Gene David Kirk was Anthony Biggs who took over as Artistic Director in 2013.[16] He focused on international playwrights and new works. During Biggs’ time, Jermyn Street Theatre produced a repertory season of South African drama and new works by Jonathan Lewis (A Level Playing Field)[17], Sarah Daniels (Soldiers’ Wives)[18], and American playwright Rae Spiegel (Dry Land)[19]. Biggs also revived The First Man by American playwright Eugene O’Neill[20], First World War drama Flowers of the Forest by John Van Druten[21], and First Episode, Terence Rattigan’s first play, directed by Tom Littler.[22]

In 2017, Tom Littler became Artistic Director.[23] His first production was the world premiere of Howard Brenton’s The Blinding Light[24]. This marked the sixth production Littler has directed at Jermyn Street Theatre. Previous credits include praised revivals of Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle[25] and Saturday Night [26] which transferred to the Arts Theatre.[27] Since Tom Littler’s appointment as Artistic Director, Jermyn Street Theatre has been re-launched into a full-scale producing theatre[28], with eight to ten productions making up an annual season. The theatre’s creative output is focused on staging new plays, rare revivals, innovative adaptations of European classics, and outstanding musicals, alongside one-off literary events.[29] Jermyn Street Theatre is committed to ensuring that at least fifty percent of all on stage and off stage creatives are women.[30]

In 2018, Littler directed the first complete West End revival of Noel Coward’s Tonight at 8.30[31], featuring a cast of nine actors playing 73 roles.[32] Jermyn Street Theatre often co-produces with regional theatres including York Theatre Royal, the Watermill Theatre, Theatre by the Lake, Theatre Royal Bath, Creation Theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, and Guildford Shakespeare Company.

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