Harold Pinter has London theatre named after him

image captionPinter directed and appeared in several plays at the Comedy

London's Comedy Theatre is to be renamed next month after Harold Pinter, the playwright, director and actor who died in 2008.

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) said it was "a fitting tribute to a man who made such a mark on British theatre".

The company has owned the West End venue since 2000.

The first show to open at the newly named Harold Pinter Theatre will be Death and the Maiden, by Ariel Dorfman, in October.

The theatre has hosted seven Pinter productions over the last 21 years, including The Homecoming, No Man's Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse, The Caretaker with Michael Gambon.

The most recent was a production of Betrayal starring Kristin Scott Thomas, which ended its run last month.

Pinter directed several plays there, including The Caretaker, Twelve Angry Men and the Simon Gray plays Otherwise Engaged and The Old Masters.

image captionThe Comedy originally opened in 1881 as the Royal Comedy Theatre

"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.

"The re-naming of one of our most successful West End theatres is a fitting tribute to a man who made such a mark on British theatre who, over his 50 year career, became recognised as one of the most influential modern British dramatists."

Born in 1930 in East London, Pinter wrote 32 plays, 22 screenplays and directed 36 theatre productions. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

"Harold would have been so pleased by this honour and I am very moved at the news," said his widow, Lady Antonia Fraser.

Thandie Newton will play the lead role in Dorfman's Death and the Maiden when it opens on 13 October.

Its author said it was "extraordinarily appropriate" that his play would be the first to be staged in the renamed theatre.

"That play is dedicated, after all, to Pinter," said the Argentine dramatist.

"He was its godfather and guide when it first opened 20 years ago and my mentor for most of my writing life."

The Comedy Theatre originally opened in 1881 as the Royal Comedy Theatre. Despite its name, it has hosted a wide range of plays.

Recent productions have included Birdsong, based on the book by Sebastian Faulks, and The Children's Hour, starring Keira Knightley.

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