The biggest and most prolific theatre on the fringe
After a hugely successful 2012, this beloved fringe powerhouse was forced to quit its home underneath London Bridge due to redevelopment work at the station. Though Southwark Playhouse has been promised a spot in the revamped London Bridge, it moves – for now – to this old warehouse near Elephant & Castle.
With a 240-seat main house and a 120-seat studio, it's almost twice as big as the old venue and by far the largest London theatre that could be described as 'fringe'. The programming is tricky to pin down, but revolves around new writing and off-the-beaten track revivals, with a reputation for giving stripped down, thrilling second chances to unloved musicals.
Tickets are on the top end of fringe prices, with some musicals costing over £20. But production values are scaled up in the large space, and the quality is often barely distinguishable from the subsidised off-West End, and there's a tendency for on-the-up TV actors to make their stage debut there.
A convivial bar has a tendency to get very full, but there's a couple side rooms you can duck into.
|Venue name:||Southwark Playhouse||Contact:|
|Transport:||Tube: Borough, Elephant & Castle|
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Re-creating Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Neil Simon’s swinging ’60s Noo Yoik musical in Southwark Playhouse was never going to be easy, and Bronagh Lagan’s production of ‘Promises, Promises’ – a tale of sexual and workplace politics in mid-century Manhattan...Musicals Until Saturday February 18 2017
Where the RSC has thrown cutting-edge digital wizardry at its current production of ‘The Tempest’, this smaller scale version at Southwark Playhouse goes right back to basics. Adapted and directed by Amy Draper, it’s the theatre’s annual Shakespeare...Shakespeare Until Saturday January 28 2017
Visible, a new company for older performers, stage a raunchy circus-inspired show inspired by scandalous 1897 classic 'La Ronde'. Arthur Schnitzler's play is an examination of sexual habits and morality. Brought up to date by playwright Sonja Linden,...Drama Thursday February 23 2017 - Saturday March 18 2017
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
Yes, this is the same 'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' that was turned into a taboo-busting indie film starring Kristen Wiig. Phoebe Gloeckner's graphic novel is a look at a creative, lonely teenager who gets sucked into a world of artistic awakening and...Drama Wednesday March 1 2017 - Saturday March 25 2017
Struggling artists, opportunists, and hookers fill an edgy musical that drags us through New York's dark underworld. Sound familiar? This Broadway musical might share a little genetic material with 'Rent' (including a slough of Tony nominations) but it's...Musicals Saturday March 25 2017 - Saturday April 29 2017
Glenn Waldron's got an unusual pedigree for a playwright: he's a former editor of i-D who's made his name in fashion and cultural journalism. He's putting this media background to good use in 'Natives', a story of three teenagers coming of age online. These...Drama Wednesday March 29 2017 - Saturday April 22 2017
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
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My first visit to Southwark Playhouse - I hadn't realised it had moved from London bridge till I read the other reviews. The venue is ideally situated - just 3 minutes walk from Elephant & Castle station, in what I now understand is a "temporary" space. The bar is far too small for the size of the cafe and kitchen facilities inadequate. (I ordered a halloumi wrap 25 minutes before the show and was told there wasn't enough time to make it.) Unusually, we were allowed to take glasses and cups into the theatre (when I asked a steward if it was ok to do this he told me to "read the rules".) The individual seats are not comfortable, but there is a good view of the stage wherever you sit. The productions and ticket prices at this venue are excellent. I just hope they relocate soon.
vivian from new york
we are here for a short visit and are being driven nuts by your multiple addresses. you must make it clear that you have moved so people wanting to see the Tom Paine play from my country can find their way to you
I can't wait for these guys to get back to London Bridge, as they do some great intimate, thought-provoking and sometimes challenging pieces. One of the best fringe theatres in London, in an atmospheric venue in the arches.