The Playhouse Theatre is located in the heart of London, 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.
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.
Facilities and Access
- 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