The Edinburgh Playhouse is the largest working theatre in the UK in terms of audience capacity, seating 3,059 people over three levels. Originally used as a cinema, nowadays the venue is used for large scale touring musical productions. The theatre is managed by the Ambassadors Theatre Group (ATG) who use it to house a wide variety of different performances each year. The building itself is a Grade I Listed Building and was originally modelled on the Roxy Cinema in New York.
Monday 8 July – 13 July: Dreamboats and Petticoats
Tuesday 3 September – 14 September: Hairspray
Monday 30th September – 5th October: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Saturday 12 October – 18th October: The Lion King
Monday 17th February 2014 – 22nd February 2014: Tonight’s The Night
History and Design
The Edinburgh Playhouse is the largest cinema building ever built in Scotland and still survives in its original form. It was designed by architect John Fairweather as a ‘super cinema’ with an aim to include as many seats as possible whilst creating a unique experience for the audience members. It opened in the late 1920s and was designed originally with theatrical use in mind which is evidenced by the large stage and full sized fly tower. Its exterior is misleading as it is not clear how big the site actually is from looking at it outside. The Grand Circle is on the street level and the Stalls are accessed by steps down.
The cinema opened in August 1929 and featured 1500 seats in the Stalls, 680 in the Circle and 860 in the Balcony. The stage is 45ft deep and 85ft wide and featured 30 dressing rooms backstage. The orchestra pic extends underneath the stage meaning no space is taken out from the front rows.
During the 1970s the cinema was closed as cinema going became less popular in the UK. The building was scheduled for demotion, but thankfully this was revoked in 1974 as a petition to save the venue was signed by over 15,000 people. It then became a listed building and reopened as a prime theatrical venue.
Address: Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA
Telephone Booking: 0844 871 3014
Group Booking: 0844 871 3034
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677
Box Office Opening Hours: 12-6pm Mon-Sat, 12-8pm on performance days.
Access requirements: Up to 8 wheelchair spaces are available per performance.
Bars and Hospitality: There are bars on all levels of the venue, along with a number of suites that can be booked alongside your visit.
The Edinburgh Playhouse is one of the UK’s many haunted theatres. Staff members have reported seeing a man in grey known as Albert appearing on the sixth level of theatre, accompanied by a burst of cold air. His full identity isn’t known, but he is thought to be the ghost of a stage hand or night-watchman who killed himself in the building.