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Harold Pinter Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Leicester Square
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Time Out says

This Victorian playhouse is all about the Pinter (but has been known to stage other playwrights too)

In 2011, this historical Victorian theatre got rechristened Harold Pinter Theatre, as a tribute to the legendary playwright, director and all-round master of menace. And the venue takes its moniker pretty seriously. In 2018, it topped off its longstanding record of staging Pinter plays by launching a huge season of Pinter revivals, with basically every famous British actor you can think of making star appearances, and director Jamie Lloyd at the helm. 

But long before Pinter unleashed his first scribblings, this playhouse started life as the Comedy Theatre in 1888, which regaled Victorian audiences with a line-up of operettas and now-forgotten farces. From then on, its programming continued along reasonably conventional lines until 1956, when it made a bold bid to confront theatre industry censorship. In an age where the Lord Chamberlain vetoed anything that smacked of sex of violence, the theatre evaded censorship by becoming a private club. It subsequently staged the London premieres of groundbreaking hits like Arthur Miller's ‘A View From the Bridge’ and ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ by Tennessee Williams. When rules were finally relaxed, it was able to show Peter Shaffer's hit play 'Five Finger Exercise' to a general audience, alongside a line-up that focused on 'proper drama' by the likes of Shakespeare, Wilde, Shaw, and yes, Pinter. 

Harold Pinter Theatre is a 796-seater house with seats over four horseshoe-shaped balcones, decorated in refined and ever-so-Victorian shades of china blue, cream and gold. Outside, its neo-Classical facade makes an imposing addition to Panton Street, tucked away behind Piccadilly Circus.

Details

Address:
6
Panton Street
London
SW1Y 4DN
Transport:
Tube: Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square
Price:
Various
Opening hours:
Check website for show times
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