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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Licensed to Ill
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Average User Rating
3.3 / 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.
A great theatre showing interesting plays and a brilliant ability to find musical theatre you rarely see elsewhere (see Carrie, May 2015). The audience is close to the action and the large space is very flexible allowing for interesting sets and staging. Well worth being on the mailing list and looking out for preview prices which are very reasonable but get in quick as they often sell out fast.
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.