THE HAROLD PINTER THEATRE

Wednesday 21 September 2011

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Death And The Maiden
The owners of the Comedy Theatre have paid tribute to one of Britain's greatest 20th century writers renaming the theatre The Harold Pinter Theatre.

The beautiful Grade II listed building has a long history associated with Harold Pinter. Originally the Royal Comedy Theatre when it opened in 1881 it dropped the Royal in 1884 to be come known as The Comedy Theatre - it had no warrent to call itself the "Royal" Comedy Theatre! The auditorium remains essentially that of 1881, with three tiers of horseshoe shaped balconies.

The next play to be staged at the newly named The Harold Pinter Theatre is Death And The Maiden by Ariel Dorfman who dedicated the play to his mentor Harold Pinter. "He was its godfather and guide when it first opened 20 years ago and my mentor for most of my writing life." His thesis on the absurd in plays of Harold Pinter was published in Spanish as El absurdo entre cuatro paredes: el teatro de Harold Pinter by Editorial Universitaria, in Santiago, Chile, in 1968. Pinter later became a personal friend as well as an influence on Dorfman's work and political thinking.

"The work of Pinter has become an integral part of the history of the Comedy Theatre," said Howard Panter, ATG's joint chief executive and creative director. Over the last 21 years the theatre has staged seven Harold Pinter productions - most recently Betrayal written in 1978. Other productions were The Lover/The Collection, Homecoming, No Man's Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse and The Caretaker. He also directed several productions there inlucing The Caretaker, Twelve Angry Men and the Simon Gray plays Otherwise Engaged and The Old Masters.

Born in 1930 in East London, Pinter wrote 32 plays, 22 screenplays and directed 36 theatre productions. Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 and the citation said "in his plays he uncovers the precipice in everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms". He was awarded a CBE in 1966, later turned down a knighthood and became a Companion of Honour, an exclusive award in the gift of the Sovereign, in 2002. His style was so distinctive, "Pinteresque" entered the Oxford English Dictionary.

Other recent productions have included in 2010 La La BĂȘte by David Hirson, starring Mark Rylance, David Hyde Pierce and Joanna Lumley, Birdsong, based on the book by Sebastian Faulks, and The Children's Hour, starring Keira Knightley.

The Harold Pinter Theatre seating plan is over 4 levels - Stalls, Dress Circle, Royal Circle and Balcony and is centrally located near Piccadilly Circus on Panton Street in the heart of the West End. Search Death And The Maiden tickets to visit The Harold Pinter Theatre.

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