John Barnes and Swiss Cottage

Hampstead Theatre 1962
Hampstead Theatre

New Theatre for Hampstead

In December 1962 a new civic theatre at Swiss Cottage opened.

In 1959 the Hampstead Theatre Club was formed by Mr. James Roose-Evans, who was also the artistic director, as he wanted to provide Hampstead with its own live theatre.

The club quickly found supporters and a location- the Moreland Hall next to the old Everyman, which became a cinema.

The support of the Hampstead Borough Council led to to an ambitious project to build a new civic theatre.

A prefabricated timber building was built to seat 160 and a permanent company of actors was to be formed.


John Barnes lent one of its front display windows to help the organisers appeal for funds.

The citizens of Hampstead were asked to provide £10,000, which, with borough Council’s £7000, will complete the building and get the first season under way.

John Barnes “Buys” seats

The John Barnes Branch Council subscibed £100 which “bought” ten seats at £10 which gave the subscriber the right to have a name inscribed on a plaque fixed to the seat.


Comments about this page

  • The Moreland Hall, mentioned above, still exists as the school hall of Hampstead Parochial on Holly Bush Vale. There are reports that early performers were put off by the smell of cabbage from the school kitchens.

    By Simon Atkinson (23/12/2023)

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