Pentameters Theatre is located above The Horseshoe Pub in the heart of Hampstead Village and is nestled among an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs to have pre/post-theatre dinner or drinks. Hampstead is also well-known for its artistic character, offering a supportive, interactive and thriving local community making it an ideal spot to promote live theatre and creative art events.Founded by Léonie Scott-Matthews BEM, ARAM in August 1968, Pentameters is one of the most respected fringe theatres in London. Léonie has put on hundreds of professional shows from Shakespeare, classic revivals and new plays to alternative comedy, music and poetry events.Léonie trained at the Royal Academy of Music obtaining their RAM diploma and LRAM (Speech & Drama) and won the Poetry Society’s Gold Medal for verse speaking.
The many authors to perform at Pentameters include Dannie Abse, Kingsley Amis, Margaret Drabble, Sir William Empson, John Heath-Stubbs, Ted Hughes, Laurie Lee, Roger McGough, Edna O'Brien, Harold Pinter, Stevie Smith, Sir Stephen Spender, John Wain and psychiatrist R.D. Laing. The Theatre has also played host to many performers, including Russell Brand, Adrian Edmundson, Ben Elton, French and Saunders, Nigel Havers, Celia lmrie, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Jenny Seagrove, Pamela Stephenson and Alexei Sayle.
Léonie was given a Camden Good Citizen Award for her outstanding work for the community and was also honoured as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for her contribution to the Arts. In 2016 Pentameters was chosen as an Asset of Community Value. Léonie has a one-woman show My life in Alternative Arts and compères Moon At Night, an open evening every Sunday at 8.00pm at Pentameters Theatre, which she runs with her musician partner, Godfrey Old.
In 2019, Léonie was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award and Hampstodian of the year. In the 2020 New Year Honours List she was awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to British Theatre and to the community in Hampstead.
Pentameters production of The Bevin Boys, written by Viv Edwards, received the 2020 London Pub Theatre Standing Ovation (New Play Raising Awareness) Award.
Léonie was awarded the Olwen Wymark Award for Encouragement in theatre writing by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain on 8 April 2021.
a poem by Peter Woodcock
(for Léonie Scott-Mathews
founder of Pentameters Theatre)
Glittering stars pasted on to backdrop which
had once been blackout curtains in the old house,
climbing up the staircase
into a doll’s house, the inner theatre of imagination
with shamanistic brilliance
voices entwine, fugitives find themselves,
lost souls flourish, lives unlived
in bedsits and pubs, a secret alliance
woven by the times,
recovering from austerity and lack
suddenly in technicolor
fuelled by alcohol and smoke,
dangerous dreams of liberation,
metamorphosed on a stage,
illusion and madness,
in the drama of now
as yet unseen, burning passions
ebb and flow,
decades later with bruised memories,
secret pathways in starlit Hampstead
still lead to magical groves.
*** *** ***
Pentameters siren sounds:
Come hither, my muse
by Chris Purdon
"Pentameterswithout virtue cannot endure."