English theatre director SIR PETER HALL has accused West End producers of using big names such as Rob Lowe and David Schwimmer at the expense of homegrown talent.

The esteemed director claims the artistic value of theatre has suffered as a result of the influx of Hollywood stars keen to prove their talent on the London stage.

He says, "I would be asked by a producer what I wanted to do. Now I'm asked 'Who can you get? Somebody from Los Angeles?' This is the wrong way round. You must start with the play, you really must."

This year has seen American stars Val Kilmer, Brooke Shields, Joshua Jackson, Schwimmer and Lowe all grace the West End.