New End Theatre
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It was founded in 1974 by Buddy Dalton in the converted mortuary of the now-defunct New End Hospital. The mortuary was formerly linked to the hospital across the road by a tunnel. It was owned by Roy and Sonia Saunders from 1986 until 1997. Its Artistic Directors included Sonia Saunders (1986–92), Jon Harris (1992–96) and Neil McPherson (1996–97). From 1997 to 2011 it was both owned and run by Artistic Director and Chief Executive Brian Daniels.
It had a number of successes including A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine, which transferred to both the West End and Broadway; world premieres of work by Jean Anouilh, Steven Berkoff, Tom Kempinski, Richard Stirling, and Arnold Wesker; and Tony McHale and Geoffrey William's play Tunnels Without End, featuring Billy Lomas and Rebecca Simmons.
The building was converted into a synagogue and Jewish cultural centre in 2011.
Associated 'haunting' of the building
While the New End was still running as a theatre, it was an open joke and a superstition amongst both actors and office staff that the backstage passages (including a now-sealed tunnel into the rest of the old hospital) were haunted. The lights often flickered, and the building was unusually noisy, even for one of its age. Although no one took this too seriously—it was sometimes said that any lingering spirits from the mortuary hung around to appreciate the artistic endeavours—and most 'unexplained' activity could be linked to loose wiring and expanding floorboards, the stories endured and were solemnly passed onto incoming staff during induction into the company.