The largest theatre space in the city, where the programme covers blockbuster musicals, rock legends and comedy’s A-list
Owned by the Ambassador Theatre group, the Playhouse is the largest and one of the most iconic theatre spaces in Edinburgh, not to mention one of the largest non-sport theatres in the UK, with a capacity of just over 3,000. Opened in 1929, it was originally intended as a variety hall, although a change of heart by the owners mid-construction saw it run as a cinema from the very start. Designed by Glasgow architect John Fairweather, its design took inspiration from the Roxy Theatre in New York.
The cinema boomed in its early years, and stars including Marlene Dietrich, Yul Brynner and Laurel and Hardy all visited, until a downturn in demand for auditoriums of such a size led to the building’s closure in 1973 (ironically, or perhaps intentionally, the last film to be screened was ‘Live and Let Die’). Despite the lack of business, though, the Playhouse remained an iconic location in the hearts of Edinburgh people. In the face of threats to rip it down and put an office block in its place, the Edinburgh Playhouse Society was formed, forcing the council to put a preservation order on the building and eventually reopen it as a theatre in 1980.
Since then the Playhouse has passed through numerous commercial hands, ending up with Ambassador in 2010. Although initially it built a reputation as a home for big-name rock concerts, in recent years it has been used more as a venue for large-scale touring musical theatre shows, which appear on the bill on an almost weekly basis. The programme is still broad, though, often incorporating large comedy shows, tribute acts, dance performances and rock concerts, with artists like Neil Young, Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Al Green having appeared in recent times. It also contains its own pre-show cocktail bar and restaurant, The Boards.
|Venue name:||The Edinburgh Playhouse||Contact:|
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|Transport:||Rail: Edinburgh Waverley|
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Horrible Histories: Incredible Invaders
An irreverent look at the gruesome aspects of British history and invaders from the Romans to the Vikings. Based on the books by Terry Deary.Children's Wednesday May 4 2016 - Saturday May 7 2016Read more
Elaine C Smith stars as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan in the classic Broadway musical about a red-haired orphan girl growing up in a 1930s New York orphanage. Songs include 'It's The Hard Knock Life', 'Easy Street', 'I Don't Need Anything But You' and...Musicals Monday May 16 2016 - Saturday May 21 2016Read more
The roaring-1920s set smash-hit musical about a murdering nightclub singer, her cell block rival and their smooth-talking lawyer returns to the Playhouse stage. Best known in its 2002 movie adaptation starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger and...Musicals Monday June 13 2016 - Saturday June 18 2016Read more
The stage and film phenomenom that is 'Billy Elliot' embarks on its first ever UK tour, after 10 years of packing in audiences in London's West End and 16 years after the movie adaptation starring Jamie Bell became a box office smash. In a working class...Musical Tuesday September 20 2016 - Friday September 30 2016Read more