Playhouse Theatre

Stephen Daldry’s acclaimed production of An Inspector Calls plays at the Playhouse Theatre until March 25th 2017.

The Playhouse Theatre London is located in the heart of the city, near the famous Trafalgar Square with its towering bronze lions guarding Nelson’s Column and an array of London hotels. It originally opened as the Royal Avenue Theatre in 1882 and hosted comic operas and burlesques in its early years. It soon began presenting dramas, and in 1905 was rebuilt to Blow and Billerey’s designs. During work on the new building, part of the roof of the neighbouring Charing Cross railway station collapsed onto the theatre, causing it to be repaired. It opened as the Playhouse Theatre in 1907 and continued to host successful plays such as W. Somerset Maugham’s Home and Beauty.

In 1951, the BBC took over the theatre and turned it into a studio for live performances. Legendary bands such as The Beatles, Queen and The Rolling Stones performed here. The BBC left the theatre in 1976 where it went into a state of disrepair, but in 1987 it was restored and opened again with the musical Girlfriend. In 1991, it was home to the Peter Hall Company, and the legendary director helmed such productions as The Rose Tattoo starring Julie Walters and Tartuffe.

Past Shows

Though traditionally seen as a home for straight plays, such as My Name is Rachel Corrie, Hedda Gabler, Vincent in Brixton, and A Doll’s House, in recent years, the theatre has been host to many successful musicals such as La Cage Aux Folles from 2008 until January 2010, and it was the home of the beloved jukebox musical Dreamboats and Petticoats through August 2012, before Simon Callow starred in the one-man show The Mystery of Charles Dickens. Spamalot opened at the Playhouse on 12 November 2012 and closed on the 12th April 2014.  Headlong’s production of 1984 transferred to the Playhouse opened on the 28th April 2014, with press night on the 8th May. Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut in Speed-the-Plow, which opened at the Playhouse Theatre on the 24th September and closed on the 29th November 2014. 

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown starring Tamsin Greig arrived at the theatre from the 17th December 2014 and ran to May 2015. 1984 reprised it’s run throughout the summer of 2015 and was followed by The Rocky Horror Show , which opened on September 11th 2015. Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games transferred to the Playhouse Theatre in October and ran until January 2016. Matthew Perry wrote and starred in his own show, The End of Longing, which became the Playhouse Theatre’s best-selling show, closing in May 2016. A revival of Headlong’s haunting 1984 opened at the Playhouse Theatre for an extended season, closing October 29th 2016.

Access and Facilities

  • A cloakroom is available
  • There are male and female toilets located on all three levels
  • Wheelchair access is available in the Stalls
  • There are bars on all levels


  1. I confirm what I said in the first comment. I had a really great time at
    the Playhouse (my first visit to a London theatre since 1967); next time
    a concert performing a symphony by my all-time favourite composer,
    Beethoven. London has so much to offer even if it takes two days to
    recover. (Fifty things to do before you die). Thanks again.

  2. I would just like to say a huge thank you for the amazing performance of The Rocky
    Horror Show my friend and I enjoyed on Friday afternoon. We have been huge fans ever since we were 8- now 37!! We really didn’t want the performance to end.
    Much love and praise to the cast and without doubt the fabulous Richard O’brien who we can definitely say with pride we have time warped with!!!

  3. It is quite a small theatre but it felt cosy rather than claustrophobic small. The staff were friendly and helpful and having a joke with us which made the day even more enjoyable. I would recommend this theatre to you all. I can’t comment on the bar but the 3 girls in front of me certainly seemed to be enjoying the drinks!

  4. Hey everyone,
    I was wondering, if it’s also possible to purchase day-tickets at a reduced price at the box office on the day of the show – like they do in most theatres for 10 GPB in London. I didn’t find any info on this for the Playhouse Theatre. Thank you for any leads!

  5. Hi Alison,

    Please call the Playhouse Theatre Box Office: 0844 871 7631 (calls cost 7p/pm). They should be able to answer your query.

  6. I have just purchased tickets – it said I need to pick them up one hour before the beginning of the play. Is it possible to pick them up at an earlier time on that day, e.g. around lunch time to void queuing later?

    1. Hi Merle,

      The Playhouse Theatre London box office is open between 10am-7pm, and you should be able to pick up your tickets any time in those hours.

  7. Is there lift access to the Upper Circle by any chance? I have tickets for there and am currently on crutches and not very good with stairs, trying to decide if it will be accessible.

    1. Hi Yana,

      Unfortunately there is no lift to the Upper Circle. The most accessible section of the theatre is the Stalls. There are handrails on all staircases however, which may help.

    1. Hi Del,

      The Playhouse Theatre is around the corner of Embankment station if you leave via the exit on the right. It is a 1 minute walk from the tube.

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