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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A pair of conjoined twins may not seem the obvious heroines of a musical. But the true-life tale of 1930s vaudeville stars Daisy and Violet Hilton is an intriguing one and forms the basis of this likeable show from Bill Russell and Henry Krieger, best...Musicals Until Saturday December 3 2016Read more
I feel like an awful old Luddite suggesting a young theatre company should try and have fewer ideas, but it’s hard to reach any other conclusion from this bizarre mess of a show from new company Tramp. Bad idea one: ‘Confessional’ is a rarely performed...Drama Until Saturday October 29 2016Read more
This dark folk story by Matt Grinter won the Papatango new writing prize for its look at an insular village community that's threatened by orcas. Each midsummer, they choose a girl to protect the fishing boats by riding out with them, but what happens...Drama Wednesday November 2 2016 - Saturday November 26 2016Read more
Licensed to Ill
'Licensed to Ill' transfers to Southwark Playhouse ifor Christmas 2016; this review is from its 2015 run at Camden People's Theatre What d’you do when you can’t get one of the world’s biggest hip hop acts to sign off on your stage show about them?...Musicals Wednesday November 30 2016 - Saturday December 24 2016Read more
Kiki's Delivery Service
Fans of the Studio Ghibli film watch out: Southwark Playhouse's Christmas show is based on the book that inspired it, a novel by Japanese author Eiko Kadono, rather than the luscious animation itself. But it should still offer plenty of charm, as it follows...Children's Thursday December 8 2016 - Sunday January 8 2017Read more
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:1
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- 1 star:1
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.