Playhouse Theatre Facade

Playhouse Theatre Facade

Playhouse Theatre  Interior

Playhouse Theatre Interior


The Playhouse Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster, located in Northumberland Avenue, near Trafalgar Square. The Theatre was built by F. H. Fowler and Hill with a seating capacity of 1,200. It was rebuilt in 1907 and still retains its original substage machinery. Its current seating capacity is 786.

Built by Sefton Henry Parry as the Royal Avenue Theatre, it opened on 11 March 1882 with 1200 seats. The first production at the theatre was Jacques Offenbach's Madame Favart. In its early seasons, the theatre hosted comic operas, burlesques and farces for several years. For much of this time, the low comedian Arthur Roberts, a popular star of the music halls, starred at the theatre. By the 1890s, the theatre was presenting drama, and in 1894 Annie Horniman, the tea heiress, anonymously sponsored the actress Florence Farr in a season of plays at the theatre. Farr's first production was unsuccessful, and so she prevailed upon her friend, George Bernard Shaw, to hurry and make his West End début at the theatre with Arms and the Man in 1894. It was successful enough to allow him to discontinue music criticism to focus full-time on play writing. The actress Gladys Cooper managed the theatre for some years.

The theatre was rebuilt in 1905 to the designs of Blow and Billerey. During the work, part of the roof of the adjacent Charing Cross railway station collapsed. The roof and girders fell across the train lines but part of the station's western wall also fell and crashed through the roof and wall of the theatre. This resulted in the deaths of three people in the station, and three workmen on the theatre site and injuries to many more. The theatre was repaired and re-opened as The Playhouse on 28 January 1907 with a one-act play called The Drums of Oudh and a play called Toddles, by Tristan Bernard and Andre Godferneaux. Shaw wrote a sketch entitled The Interlude at the Playhouse for the occasion.

The new theatre had a smaller seating capacity of 679. W. Somerset Maugham's Home and Beauty premièred at the Playhouse on 30 August 1919, running for 235 performances, and Henry Daniell appeared here in February 1926 as the Prince of Karaslavia in Mr. Abdulla. Nigel Bruce appeared in February 1927 as Robert Crosbie in Somerset Maugham's The Letter, and again in May 1930 as Robert Brennan in Dishonoured Lady. Alec Guinness made his stage début here in Ward Dorane's play Libel! on 2 April 1934. Daniell returned in November that year as Paul Miller in Hurricane.

In 1951 it was taken over by the BBC as a recording studio for live performances. The Goon Show and the radio versions of Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son were recorded here, although at least the first two shows were also recorded at other venues during their runs. The stage also hosted live performances by KISS, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. On 3 April 1967, a live Pink Floyd concert was broadcast from the theatre. When the BBC left around 1976, the theatre went dark and was in danger of demolition.

The theatre was restored to its 1907 design by impresario Robin Gonshaw, opening again in October 1987 with the musical Girlfriends. A commercial building, Aria House, was erected above the theatre.

In 1988, novelist and politician Jeffrey Archer bought the Playhouse for just over £1 million. The following year, the theatre was offered commercial sponsorship by a financial services' company, and for a while it was known as the MI Group Playhouse. In 1991, the Playhouse became home to the Peter Hall Company, and a number of critically and commercially successful plays were performed there, including Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo (1991), starring Julie Walters and Moliere's Tartuffe (1991), starring Paul Eddington and Felicity Kendal. Around this time the basement bar area of the theatre was converted into a private restaurant, Shaws, but the enterprise was unsuccessful and the space was later converted back into a bar/cafe.

In 1992, Archer sold the Playhouse to the writer and impresario Ray Cooney for just over £2 million. That year Cooney staged the West End premiere of his latest farce It Runs in the Family at the Playhouse. This was followed by Jane Eyre (1993), adapted by Fay Weldon and starring Tim Pigott-Smith; Frederick Lonsdale's On Approval, (1994), starring Simon Ward, Martin Jarvis and Anna Carteret; and Ray Cooney's Funny Money in 1995.

In 1996, Cooney sold the Playhouse to American investment banker Patrick Sulaiman Cole, whose first production was a critically acclaimed revival of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House in 1996, directed by Anthony Page and starring Janet McTeer. Later that year, the theatre was closed for complete refurbishment under the direction of English Heritage, with the auditorium luxuriously decorated, with grandiose murals, caryatids, golden pillars, carved balustrades, and shining gold decoration. It reopened in 1997 with Sulaiman Cole's production and the West End première of Anton Chekhov's The Wood Demon. This was followed by Sulaiman Cole's production of a first ever West End Snoo Wilson premiere, "HRH", directed by Simon Callow, about the British Royal Family's Duke and Duchess of Windsor, which opened the day after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The play was harshly reviewed as anti-Royal. The theatre returned to life as a commercial receiving house with several seasons of Almeida Theatre and Cheek by Jowl productions, including the popular but critically panned premiere of David Hare's The Judas Kiss.

Successes at the Playhouse since the late 1990s have included Naked (1998); J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls (2001) and Journey's End, directed by David Grindley. American theatrical producers Ted and Norman Tulchin's Maidstone Productions purchased the theatre at the end of 2002,[3] with the venue managed by the Ambassador Theatre Group. The Playhouse hosted Richard Eyre's 2003 Olivier Award-winning production of Vincent in Brixton, starring Clare Higgins; Eyre's 2005 production of Hedda Gabler, starring Eve Best; and Megan Dodds in a transfer of My Name Is Rachel Corrie by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner in 2006.

More recent successes include the musical Dancing in the Streets, The Adventures of Tintin based on the famous comic-book detective, The Harder They Come, and La Cage Aux Folles. In December 2013, ATG had acquired 100 percent ownership of the Playhouse.

The Playhouse Theatre which stands on Northumberland Avenue today opened on the 28th of January 1907 with a one act play called 'The Drums of Oudh', followed by a production of 'Toddles'. The Theatre was actually a reconstruction of an earlier Theatre called the Avenue Theatre, which had first opened in 1882 but was seriously damaged by the collapse of part of Charing Cross station in 1905.

The Builder reported on the imminent construction of the Avenue Theatre, when it's site was still just an empty plot of land, in their 8th of January 1881 edition saying:- 'The land in Northumberland Avenue, belonging to the Metropolitan Board of Works, has now for a lengthened period remained vacant, but there are at present symptoms of portions of it being occupied before long. Amongst other new structures for which preparations are being made, is, as we have already mentioned, a new theatre for Mr. Sefton Parry, at the lower end of the Avenue, near the Thames Embankment, and at the corner of Craven-street. The site has been enclosed by a hoarding, and the foundations are now being got in.

We understand that the building will have two handsome elevations, the principal frontage facing the avenue, with another elevation in Craven-street. Internally, the new theatre is intended to be rather compact and ornamental than very large, its capacity being equal to an audience of about 1,000 persons, independently of twelve private boxes. There will be 140 stalls, 100 balcony-stalls, 120 dress circle seats, 300 pit-seats, 96 amphitheatre stalls, and 300 gallery-seats. The architects are Messrs. Fowler & Hill. We learn that the new theatre is to be completed and ready for opening in September next.' - The Builder, 8th of January 1881. In the end the Avenue Theatre was opened on the 11th of March the following year, 1882.

The Avenue Theatre was designed by F. H. Fowler, of Fowler and Hill, and built by Kirke and Randall, of Woolwich with a capacity of 1,200. The Avenue Theatre was built for Sefton Parry and Edmund Burke, opening on the 11th of March 1882 with a production of 'Madame Favart,' a comic opera by Offenbach.The ERA printed a review of the new Theatre on its opening night in their 11th of March 1882 edition saying:- 'This theatre, which has for proprietor Mr Sefton Parry; for sole lessee, Mr Edmund Burke; and, for manager, M. Marius, will, as already announced, be opened this evening with a revival of Offenbach's celebrated comic opera Madame Favart.

The Royal Avenue Theatre, it is hoped, will prove one of the safest and most comfortable, as it is undeniably one of the handsomest, dramatic establishments in the metropolis. It fulfills one of the first conditions of safety (as do the Grand Opera House, the Theatre des Italiens, the Opera Comique and other Parisian theatres, and the Theatre de la Monnaie at Brussels), by standing in an entirely isolated position. It faces two of the noblest thoroughfares in the metropolis - Northumberland - avenue and the Victoria Embankment. Thus, the advantages of a situation, which may fairly be called unrivalled, are heightened by the building being within half a minute's journey from the terminus of the South-Eastern, the Greenwich, and the North Kent lines; of the Charing-cross Station of the Metropolitan Railway, and within one minute of the Strand and Charing cross itself.

Mr F. H. Fowler, of the firm of Fowler and Hill, has been the architect of this elegant and tasteful edifice, which is erected in the style of the French Renaissance at its most flourishing epoch. The structure has met with the highest approval from the Royal Institute of British Architects, and from the architect of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The contractors have been Messrs Kirke and Randall, of Woolwich; M. H. Verbriecke, the eminent artist of Antwerp, has painted the elegant curtains, and has extensively contributed to the pictorial embellishment of the interior; and Mr J. Boekbinder has modeled and produced the numerous and magnificent figures, and other plastic embellishments in carton piere. The abundant statuary has been executed by Mr Plows; and Messrs Lyons and Sons have supplied the furniture and upholstery, which have been manufactured from designs prepared specially for the occasion. The splendid and tasteful chandeliers have been provided by M. Alphonse Bogaerts, and the gas appliances and fixtures by Mr Cannon.

No efforts have been spared to minster to the convenience and to secure the safety of the audience. The approaches, staircases, saloons, and retiring rooms are all fire-proof. All the means of egress, which are both numerous and spacious, open outwards, and will be used on all occasions. By merely pulling a brass bolt any visitor may at once throw open the extra doors provided. No locks will, under any circumstances, nor at any time be placed on any of the doors, which are constructed, it may be said with emphasis, for use, and not for show.

The major part of the audience at the Royal Avenue Theatre are seated on the ground floor of the building, almost on a level with the street. There will not be, even to the altitude or the depth of a few feet, any needless, vexatious, and dangerous toiling upstairs and downstairs before the stalls, the pit, or the private boxes can be reached. There will be no obstructive entanglement in a labyrinth of tortuous corridors, devised seemingly only for the purpose of bewildering and impeding the visitor; and the patrons of the Royal Avenue Theatre will be enabled to reach their seats with the same ease and expedition as they will have in leaving those seats, passing through the roomy vestibule, and regaining the open street, when the performances have come to a close.

The staircases which are actually required for the purpose of ascending to the boxes and amphitheatre are broadly and easily graded. Instead of narrow and stuffy box lobbies, an open pourtour (as in the American and some Continental theatres) affords the means for free circulation, and presents facilities for conversation between the acts; and the careful system of ventilation, perfected throughout the building, will ensure coolness in summer, while equally adequate measures will be adopted to warm the theatre comfortably in winter time. The electric light will be supplied by the Compagnie Generale d'Electricite.

The embellishments, which comprise modelled or relievo work, are, in their entirety, of carton piere; that is to say, the background, as well as the raised ornamentation thereupon, is of the material just named, no plaster being used, and the solid slabs of carton piere being screwed bodily to the rafters. The ceiling, which is circular, of the auditorium, is divided into twelve compartments, radiating from the beautiful central chandelier by angelic figures with expanded wings, holding in one hand a palm-branch, which passes through a wreath of laurel; and with the other hand crowning a medallion or "mascaron," of which there are twelve, containing the portrait busts of as many famous dramatic writers - namely, Shakespeare, Goldsmith, Congreve, Sheridan, Van Vondel, Racine, Corneille, Moliere, Beaumarchais, Calderon, Goethe, and Schiller. These portraits are all elaborately-studied and artistically executed paintings in natural colour.

Beneath the ceiling is a "cove" or concave surface, on which are highly enriched compartments, adorned with paintings in camaieu, of Apollo and the Nine Muses. This "cove" is of horseshoe form, straight at the base, and at its extremities forms two "spandrils" beautifully modelled with trophies of musical instruments.

The proscenium itself has a ceiling of seven panels taking the shape of an arch, crowning the symmetrical architectural elevation of the stage boxes, the topmost of which, on each side, is surmounted by a fronton, on which are seated figures of children holding medallions between them. On each side of the pilasters of the stage or proscenium boxes are two gracefully-modelled statues, or Caryatides, holding bouquets from which spring lights; and these Caryatides are supported by four consoles, of Tragedy, Drama, Comedy, and Burlesque.

The two figures over the centre of the stage symbolise Music and Song, and they support the achievement of the Royal arms, which, covering, as it does, a width of nearly twenty-six feet, gives an effect to the whole trophy, both in modelling and colour, which is simply superb. The ornamentation of the frontals or balconies of the boxes and amphitheatre is so equally tasteful and luxurious; and with a view to make the adornment of the auditorium artistically unique, every console of the balcony is differently modelled. The prevailing tone of the decorations is ivory and gold; the twelve figures in camaieu are painted in oil colour, and have been executed, with the curtains, the "mascarones," the ceiling of the entrance vestibule, and the foyer on the first floor, by M. H. Verbrieke.

The new Piccadilly Theatre, apart from many other means of transport, will be served by the largest tube station in the world, the new Piccadilly Tube Station which, as against 26,000,000 passengers in 1927, will in future, with a battery of 15 passimeter booths, be able to serve 50,000,000 a year. The completed station, over the central dome of which Eros will be replaced, will have 7 subway entrances, 9 escalators and, 15 feet beneath the roadway, the booking hall will have a circular area of over 15,000 square feet, encompassed by a broad subway from which short staircases will connect with seven principal parts of the Circus. Fifty-seven stone stanchions will support the roof of the booking hall, which will have a special scheme of concealed lighting, the surrounding subway will be lined with brilliantly illuminated showcases in which well-known London stores will display their wares, and there will be a special corridor of public phone-call rooms. The work on this station was begun in February, 1925, and the approximate total cost of it will be £430,000.'

The Electrical Equipment of The New Piccadilly Theatre. From the Souvenir Programme produced for the opening of the Piccadilly Theatre on the 27th of April 1928.

The contract for the decorations was signed on the 8th October last, and the whole of this important department of the work of the Royal Avenue Theatre has been modelled, fabricated, fixed, painted, and gilded, by Mr Bookbinder, in little more than four months. The entire construction of the Royal Avenue Theatre, with all its appliances and arrangements, has been carried out and completed under the immediate superintendence of the proprietor, Mr Sefton Parry. There are seven rows of stalls; a pit calculated to accommodate three hundred persons, and seating accommodation altogether for between twelve hundred and thirteen hundred.' The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 11th March 1882.

The Avenue Theatre Accident.

In 1905, twenty five years after the Theatre had first opened in 1882, the interior was being remodeled by the architects Detmar Blow & Fernand Billerey when a disastrous accident occurred caused by part of the roof from Charing Cross station, which was situated above the Theatre, collapsing onto the building, killing six workmen and extensively damaging the unfinished interior of the Theatre.

The Times Newspaper carried a report on the tragedy in their 6th of December 1905 edition saying:- 'The terminal station of the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway at Charing-cross was the scene yesterday afternoon of a remarkable and disastrous accident. Just before 4 o'clock., when the officials of the company were expecting the arrival of the Continental boat express train from Folkestone, and preparations were in progress for the despatch from No. 4 platform of the usual train to Hastings, two bays at the southern end of the gigantic roof which spans the station and the western wall on which they were partially supported suddenly collapsed. Some 20 or 30 men who, suspended from the roof in swinging cradles, were engaged in scraping and painting the ironwork of the bays, fell into the station below and were buried beneath a mass of debris which was variously estimated at from 50 to 100 tons in weight...

The immediate fear was that the majority of the men had been killed, and the most sensational rumours were quickly in circulation as to the loss of life which had been occasioned by the accident. Fortunately, however, investigation showed that the statements which had gained currency were greatly exaggerated, for, although the actual number of deaths cannot be given with absolute certainty, it is confidently believed that they will not exceed four. Three of these, it is understood, occurred in the station itself, while the fourth man killed was employed in the Avenue Theatre, which adjoins the western wall of the railway, and which was partially wrecked by the falling debris. All the men who were working on the station roof, and several of those who were engaged in the alterations in progress in the Avenue Theatre, sustained injuries, but in only six cases were they of so serious a character as to necessitate their detention at the Charing-cross HospitaL The others, who were suffering from cuts and bruises, were allowed to proceed to their homes after their wounds had been dressed by the medical staff of the hospital...

...The roof, it may be interesting to recall, was constructed by Sit John Hawkshaw in 1860. The type is one which is common to all the great railway termini in the country. A rough description of it is that it consists of wrought iron rods tied together by bars of large diameter and braced with ties and struts in the usual way. The Charing Cross Station roof itself is divided into 13 bays; it has a length of about 700ft. and a span of something like 165ft. No structural alterations have been made in the roof since its erection 45 years ago, and it has not even been found necessary to replace any of the iron rods and bars which play so prominent a part in its support. Sir Benjamin Baker has not yet had the opportunity of examining any of the fallen material, but on such evidence as is at his command at the present moment he has based the conclusion that the collapse was brought about by the fracturing of one of the tie rods. He acknowledges his inability to account for the fracture. The roof, he points out, has weathered storms and gales of varying severity during nearly half a century, and then, as he expressed it, "for some unaccountable reason," a portion of it collapses on a day which was absolutely free from wind or stress of any kind. The determination of the cause of the fracture must remain, in the view of Sir Benjamin Baker, for further investigation.

The first indication of the accident was given at a quarter to 4 o'clock, when a heavy beam fell from the "screen" of the roof at the southern end of the station, which, like the roof itself, was undergoing repair. Immediately all those who were at that end of the station - railway servants, Custom House officials, and others - hurried from the platforms. The few passengers who were in the Hastings train at once left it, and the signals were placed against the incoming Continental train, which was stopped on Hungerford bridge and sent to Cannon-street. A few minute: afterwards about 60ft. of the roof collapsed. The huge mass of debris completely blocked the lines, destroyed two or three of the carriages of the Hastings train, and enveloped the station in clouds of dust.

A portion of the ironwork, and the upper part of the western wall, which was thrust out by the collapse of the roof, tumbled almost bodily upon the Avenue Theatre. It crashed through the roof of that building and fell with deafening noise on to the stage, which was partially destroyed There were over 100 workmen engage in the alterations and decorations which were being carried out in preparation for the reopening of the theatre in January by Mr. Cyril Maude and it is regarded as little short of miraculous that so many escaped either instant death or serious injury...

...The whole of the theatre has been rudely shaken, and it is feared that, in addition to the western wall, other portions of the roof may collapse. Every precaution has been taken to protect the public, but it will not be possible to undertake any work of repair and restoration until the wall of the station has been strengthened and stayed up and the accumulated debris has been removed. The portion of the western wall in the station bulges so much that a further fall is considered possible. It was thought wise, in these circumstances, to remove the inmates of the houses in Craven-street nearest to the theatre.


During the whole of last night Mr. Percy Tempest was engaged in measures intended to protect the roof from any further fall. The two bays adjoining those which collapsed were considered to be in a dangerous condition, and, pending their strengthening, no one was permitted to be at work in their neighbourhood except those engaged under Mr. Tempest's direction. The bays will be supported with wire ropes, and it is hoped that in this way they may be rendered perfectly safe. It is considered unlikely that, for the present at all events, the fallen bays will be reinstated at their original height. The probability is that a lower roof will be built over that portion of the station which has been deprived of this protection. As soon as the roof is considered sufficiently safe for the operation to be carried on, the tons of debris which now cover the rails will be removed. It is expected that some days will be occupied in this task, and until it is completed the whole of the railway traffic from Charing-cross will be suspended. This was done, indeed, immediately after the accident had occurred, and all the passenger trains were dispatched from and diverted to Cannon-street.

The principal officials of the company were on duty at the station practically throughout the whole of the night. Mr. Vincent Hill, the general manager, Mr. Tempest, and Mr. W. F. Thomson, superintendent of the line, were at Charing-cross Station at the moment of the accident or arrived there shortly afterwards, and during the course of the night Sir Alfred Watkin, one of the directors, was in attendance. The chairman of the company, Mr. Cosmo Bonsor, was informed of the unfortunate accident, and he forwarded a telegraphic reply to Mr. Vincent Hill expressing his sympathy with the relatives of the men who had been killed and with those who had been injured.


The names of the killed are not known, with the exception of one man, who was removed from the station to Charing-cross Hospital and died on admission to that institution. This was William Adams, a cleaner, employed by Messrs. J. Smith and Sons. An unknown workman lies crushed under a girder in the station, where a third man is said to have been killed. The name of the man who lost his life in the theatre is unknown.

The injured persons detained at Charing-cross Hospital as in-patients were:— Charles Wilkes, of Creed Place, East Greenwich; William Blackwall, St. John's Hill, Clapham Junction, shock and severe injury; Frank Whitlock, Temple Place, Woolwich, internal injuries; Edward Roberson, Napier Road, Wimbledon, compound fracture of legs; William Thorogood, Lambeth, fractured leg; and Edward Janes, Acton, fractured collarbone and injury to head. Upwards of 30 other men were treated and allowed afterwards to proceed to their homes.

The accident naturally created immense excitement in the neighbourhood of Charing-cross and the Avenue Theatre. The station was besieged with people anxious to gain admission, but the officials took prompt measures to prevent their work being hampered. The gates leading into the courtyard and the doors giving access to the platforms were dosed and no one was permitted to pass through them except they could show good cause for being admitted. Telegrams were immediately despatched to Scotland-yard, and in response 800 police-officers from various districts were drafted to the station with 20 ambulance detachments.

Police-surgeons were summoned from a large number of metropolitan districts, while the medical staff of Charing-cross Hospital and a number of nurses from that institution also attended at the request of the officials of the company. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Salvage Corps were quickly on the scene, while a breakdown gang from Ashford was also brought to the station. The efforts of the officials were concentrated on the work of rescuing those who lay buried under the tons of rubbish. The task was a difficult one, but, thanks to the splendid exertions of those engaged, all the injured men had been released and removed to the hospital in the course of an hour and a half...


We are requested by the general manager of the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway to state that to-day the 9 o'clock a.m. mail boat train will leave Cannon-street and Victoria for Dover. The 10 and 2 20 mail boat trains will start from Victoria for Folkestone. The 11 o'clock and 2 20 trains will start from Victoria, and the corresponding trains due at Charing-cross at 3 50 and 10 45 will arrive at Victoria.

At the meeting of the London County Council yesterday Mr. Lewis Sharp asked the chairman of the Building Act Committee, in reference to the accident at Charing-cross Station, whether the Council had any power of supervising these structures or any power to see that the public were safeguarded in the future. Captain Hemphill (chairman of the committee) said the Council had no control over buildings belonging to railway companies, and it was extremely desirable that they should have such control. The building was now under the observation of the officers who took proceedings with regard to dangerous structures, and the necessary steps were being taken to ensure the safety of the public.'

The above article in quotes on the collapse of the roof of Charing Cross station into the Avenue Theatre was first published in the Times, 6th December 1905.

In the end there were six men who had lost their lives in the accident at the former Avenue Theatre. Cyril Maude received £20,000 in compensation for the damage to his Theatre and would go on to run the new one until 1915, but how the families of the dead and injured faired is unknown.

Once the station had been repaired and wreckage from the accident had been cleared away, the Theatre was rebuilt by Patman and Fotheringham to the designs of Detmar Blow and Fernand Billerey. Most of the exterior of the building was retained but the auditorium was completely remodeled. Whilst the Theatre was being rebuilt Cyril Maude transfered his productions to the Waldorf Theatre for a season begining in January 1906.

The Avenue Theatre eventually reopened as The Playhouse Theatre on the 28th of January, 1907 with a one act play called 'The Drums of Oudh', and 'Toddles,' a play by Tristan Bernard and Andre Godferneaux. The newly reconstructed Theatre had a smaller capacity than the former of 679. Frank Curzon took over the running of the Playhouse in 1915 with his leading lady Gladys Cooper, who would go on to perform in many of the Theatre's productions and eventually manage the Theatre with Curzon from 1917. Cooper returned as sole lessee of the Playhouse in 1927 and even had one of the Theatre's Boxes named after her, (see seating plan below).

Venue Access Information. There are 3 steps into the foyer through double doors - a ramp is available. The Box Office is to your left. There are no further steps into the Stalls seating, 28 steps to the Dress Circle and 82 steps to the Upper Circle. Staircases have highlights and handrails. There is hard flooring in the foyer for wheeled traffic. The theatre is open 45 minutes before the performance, and the auditorium 30 minutes before. There are wheelchair spaces at rows G and J in the Stalls - a companion can sit in next to the customer. There are a further 6 transfer spaces available. Scooters & wheelchairs will be stored in rear stalls. There are bars in the foyer, basement, dress and upper circles.

There is currently no Sound Amplification System in place at the venue. Please contact The Playhouse directly for more information on accessible performances. The venue can be reached on 0207 925 7730. Guide dogs are permitted in the auditorium at the end of a row in the stalls. Staff are happy to dog sit during the performance.

There is an access toilet in the foyer, adapted for wheelchair use. Non-adapted toilets are in the Basement Bar, Dress Circle, and Upper Circle.

Playhouse Theatre Visual Story: a visual resource to help prepare visitors for a new experience and to help them become familiar with new surroundings and what to expect. Please contact the Access Champion if you would like a copy of this.

The Playhouse Theatre is thrilled to announce the launch of a Coffee House set within the grand reception area of the beautiful 19th Century venue. Free Entry. Opening times: Mon-Fri, 10am - 4pm. Treading the Boards exhibition: Opens 28 August – 9 September 2017. For more information on Coffee House please call 0207 7925 7740 or email


Location : Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5DE

Transport: Rail : Charing Cross (National Rail) Underground: Embankment (District Line, Northern Line, Bakerloo Line, Circle Line) then 3 minutes. London Buses routes : 6, 9, 11, 15, 23, 91, 139, 176, N11, N15, N26 and N91 stop close by.

What's On

Seating Plan.

Access Line : 0800 912 6971

Tel: 0207 925 7730