The Playhouse was built in 1882 and began with plays and musical revues. These met with little success until George Bernard Shaw wrote Arms and the Man for the theatre in 1894. After remodelling in the early 1900’s, the theatre presented many long running plays. In the second half of the 20th century, it was used a live studio by the BBC, as well as a concert venue for the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It has now gone back to theatre and some of its more recent productions have included Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in 1996, Vincent in Brixton in 2003 and My Name is Rachel Corrie in 2006.
The venue is air conditioned and has 4 bars. It seats 786 over 3 levels. It’s quite narrow, so the end 4 seats of each row throughout the auditorium have sidelined views. The front row of the Dress Circle is obstructed by a handrail and the back, from row G and beyond, is affected by overhang from the tier above. The aisle seats in the Upper Circle have their views compromised by crash barriers at the bottom.
A ramp can be placed over the steps of the main entrance for disabled access to the building. There are no stairs into the Stalls, where there are 2 spaces for wheelchair users. There is an adapted toilet in the foyer and the auditorium has an infra-red system for the hard of hearing.
The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross (250m) and Embankment (100m). If you need a parking space, you can use the Westminster City Council car park at Spring Gardens or the NCP at Bedfordbury.
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