Ambassadors Theatre Archive

Current Show: Up to 7 January 2018, the long running entertainment Stomp, bringing a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy together live on stage; the children's show The Very Hungry Caterpillar has special daytime performances up to 7 January 2018; the new play Beginning runs from 15 January through to 24 March 2018

The Ambassadors Theatre was used by the Royal Court from September 1996 through to April 1999 as a base for their studio based 'Upstairs Theatre' while their Sloane Square Theatre was being rebuilt. During this time the auditorium was split into two spaces - 'The Stage Space' comprising the Stalls area, and 'The Circle Space'. Following the departure of the Royal Court Theatre the auditorium was reverted back into one space and was renamed 'The New Ambassadors' - and along with the 'new' name came an artisitic policy of showcasing short runs of new work and transfers from fringe or regional theatres. The first two productions under this new artisitic policy opened in June 1999, with month long runs of Meredith Oakes' translation of Werner Schwab's Holy Mothers playing in the early evening with Frantic Assembly's Sell Out playing in the late evening. These were followed in 1999 by short four to six week runs of Ayub Khan Din's new play Last Dance at Dum Dum; Out of Joint's stagings of Simon Bennett's Drummers and Mark Ravenhill's Some Explicit Polaroids; with the final production of 1999 being Shared Experience's production of Polly Teale's stage adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

The year 2000 brought in Lee Hall's stage adaptation of his acclaimed radio play Spoonface Steinberg; Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape starring John Hurt; David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow which then transferred in a re-cast staging, to the Duke of York's Theatre; Shared Experience Theatre's staging of Lee Hall's adaptation of Bretcht's Mother Courage and Her Children starring Kathryn Hunter; Marie Jones' comedy Stones in his Pockets played two-and-a-half months here before transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre; Charlotte Jones' play In Flame; Shared Experience Theatre returned with Michael Meyer's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House; then, over the Christmas and New Year holiday season the Royal Shakespeare Company brought in their acclaimed revival of Lee Hall's new adaptation of the Carlo Goldoni comedy A Servant of Two Masters starring Jason Watkins in the title role, following the run here at the Ambassadors Theatre, the production transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre.

The first production in 2001 was Linda Marlowe in her one-woman show Berkoff's Women, adapted from the works of Steven Berkoff which was followed by Conor McPherson's three-hander monologue play Port Authority; Shared Experience Theatre returned with Helen Edmundson's adaptation of George Eliot's A Mill on the Floss; and Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues played an extended four month season, with Eve Ensler herself performing it solo for the first month. During the run two production where staged 'late evening' - Thembi Mtshali starred in Woman in Waiting and Harold Pinter starred in his play One For The Road. In October 2001 Clive Owen starred in a revival of Peter Nichols' play A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, which transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre with Eddie Izzard taking over. The Christmas and New Year holiday season was taken up by a transfer from the Donmar Warehouse of David Mamet's Boston Marriage.

In 2002 Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues returned from having been playing at the nearby Arts Theatre for another extended four month season playing early evening performances. During this time two production where staged for late evening performances - a week long concert season from Maria Friedman and mentalist Marc Salem. In July 2002 the Donmar Warehouse transferred Kenneth Lonergan's play Lobby Hero here starring David Tennant. In September 2002 Debbie Isitt's The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband starring Alison Steadman and Daisy Donovan was staged here followed by a transfer from the Hampstead Theatre of Mike Leigh's comedy play Abigail's Party. In May 2003 a hip-hop version of William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors called The Bomb-itty of Errors transferred here from New York.

Having Premiered in London's West End at this theatre back in May 2000, Marie Jones' hit comedy Stones in his Pockets returned back to the Ambassadors Theatre from the Duke of York's Theatre in July 2003 for a further ten months before finally closing in May 2004. Unfortunately the next show here was rather less successful - Julian Webber's revival of Neil Labute's The Shape of Things starring Alicia Witt and Enzo Cilenti opened on 17 May 2004 but closed early after just four weeks. The early closure though allowed a quick transfer - that's 'quick' as in starting 'public preview' performances just four days later - from the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, North-West London, of the 'documentary drama' Guantanamo: Honour Bound To Defend Freedom which proved more successful, enjoying a ten week season. This was the followed by John Doyle's '25th Anniversary' revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, using the director's now trademark actor-musician format with the actors playing the instruments themselves. Having already enjoyed an eleven week season at the Trafalgar Studios, the production transferred here from October 2004 where it played for another three months. This was followed by a transfer from the West Yorkshire Playhouse of Roy Smiles' play Ying Tong: A Walk With The Goons for a month long run.

Dominic Dromgoole's revival of Frank McGuinness' 1992 play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me - inspired by the true account of Brian Keenan being held hostage in the Middle East - opened in April 2005 starring Jonny Lee Miller, Aidan Gillen and David Threlfall and played for a nine week season to be replaced in June 2005 with a three month run of Nick Moran's new play Telstar: The Joe Meek Story, about the independent record producer. The production starred Con O'Neill in the title role of 'Joe Meek', a role he would reprise in the 2008 movie version of the play.

David Grindley's hugely success 75th Anniversary production of R C Sheriff's war-time play Journey's End played here at the Ambassadors Theatre for a four month run up to the January 2006. The production was returning to London's West End following a seven month break having already played for 13 months at three other theatres. The next production, arriving for a two month season from February 2006, was Stephen Unwin's 'traditional' revival of William Shakespeare's Hamlet for English Touring Theatre which starred Ed Stoppard in the title role as 'Hamlet' along with Anita Dobson as 'Queen Gertrude'.

During the first part of 2006 Channel 4 television had set out to find a new play, by a previously unperformed playwright, to stage in London's West End. The result of the search, which saw some 2,000 entrants, was shown in the television programme The Play's The Thing which was broadcast in June 2006 to tie in with the winning play - Kate Betts' On The Third Day - starting preview performances at the Ambassadors Theatre. The play featured Paul Hilton, Maxine Peake and Tom McKay and was originally directed by Steven Pimlott who unfortunately fell ill during the recording of the television programme and was replaced by Robert Delamere. Despite the publicity generated by the TV programme, the winning entrant closed early after a run of six weeks.

2005 marked the 50th anniversary of Peter Hall's English language premiere in London of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot but, unfortunately due to a clash with the Becket Festival being held at London's Barbican Centre that year, Peter Hall's 2005 revival production staged at the Theatre Royal Bath was unable to come into London until the following year when it opened here in October 2006 with both Alan Dobie as 'Estragon', James Laurenson reprising their roles as the tramps Estragon and Vladimir. The production run for a strictly limited six week season before being replaced at the end of November 2006 by John Crowley's European Premiere of John Kolvenbach's four-hander play Love Song which enjoyed an eleven week run.

Having had a sell-out run at the Bush Theatre in West London just prior to Christmas, Steve Thompson's acclaimed political comedy Whipping It Up transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre in February 2007. Set in the Whip's office of a Tory government with a majority of only three the production featured Richard Wilson and Robert Bathurst and run for a very respectable run of four months before being replaced with another transfer. This time it was a musical revival from the Menier Chocolate Factory in South-East London via the West End's Duke of York's Theatre of Matthew White's production of the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical Little Shop Of Horrors - unfortunately though the production only managed a further run of two months before closing.

The next production here at the Ambassadors Theatre, another transfer, this time from the Vaudeville Theatre, was the entertainment Stomp in October 2007 which continues to play here and is now this theatre's second longest running show - though it is still has some way to go before it beats Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap which run here from November 1952 to March 1974 - that over 21 years - before it transferred to its current home next door at the St Martin's Theatre.