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Boost for new writing at Hampstead Theatre

    A one-time box office ticket-checker has donated £300,000 to secure the future of new writing at the Hampstead Theatre.

    Businessman and passionate theatre-lover Peter Wolff has offered five years of crucial financial support for the Hampstead Downstairs programme, a scheme dedicated to exposing the work of emerging playwrights. The money will support six plays every year.

    Mr Wolff has backed a number of arts projects since he launched the Peter Wolff theatre trust more than 13 years ago.

    He was first exposed to the Hampstead venue in 1956, when he worked at the ticket office of the Swiss Cottage Embassy Theatre, located on the opposite side of the road.

    "How the wheel does turn," he said. "My dream is that this will become the magnet for new writing by all the young unknown talent itching for their first chance.

    "I hope [artistic director] Edward Hall allows me to become the ticket checker again for just one night."

    Mr Hall said he would be more than happy to do so.

    "I hope to have my ticket torn by Peter himself in the not too distant future," he said. "Peter Wolff has long been an unstinting supporter of young playwrights and a generous patron of Hampstead Theatre.

    "I am really delighted to be able to seal this relationship with Peter which we trust will come to stand as an example of enlightened support for the Arts."

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