After the theatre was saved from closure, the Edinburgh Playhouse Society was formed in 1975. This board ensured that the Playhouse remained open and was used for a mix of performances, specifically Opera and Ballet. They began to campaign and it was finally purchased by the Lothian Regional Council who agreed to turn it into a multi-purpose performance venue. The building underwent a refurbishment and opened on 1 June 1980 with a charity gala. The Theatre has since been owned by Apollo Leisure, SFX, Clear Channel Entertainment, Live Nation and currently the ATG group.
Prolific productions include:
2017 opened with a production of Mamma Mia! which closed January 7th. Following this, Wonderland the musical played a limited engagement, starring Kerry Ellis. Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton follows in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Further 2017 productions have included the UK tours of The Commitments, La Cage Aux Folles, starring John Partridge, and Joe McElderry in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. Craig Revel Horwood’s production of Sister Act was next, starring Alexandra Burke, followed by Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl and West End sensation Dreamboats and Petticoats. The sensational Dirty Dancing then tangoed its way into the venue, followed by UK tours of Cilla the Musical and Sunset Boulevard.
2016 has enjoyed a range of West End favourites, including Hairspray, as well as Guys and Dolls, starring Richard Fleeshman. Beatles’ tribute Let It Be entertained audiences through April! Further productions have included Craig Revel Horwood’s Annie, as well as Chicago starring John Partridge. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most popular musical Cats prowled into the Edinburgh Playhouse to kick off the summer season! Bill Kenwright’s new touring version of Ghost the Musical spent a winter season at the theatre, starring Sarah Harding and Andy Moss.
So far, 2016 has seen Mack and Mabel, starring Michael Ball, come to the Edinburgh Playhouse, as well as Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The Sound of Music followed, starring BBC The Voice’s Lucy O’Byrne. The UK Hairspray tour arrived at the theatre in February. Further productions have included family favourite Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, whilst cult classic The Rocky Horror Show followed. April saw Strictly Come Dancing’s duo dance into the Playhouse Theatre in The Last Tango. In October 2016, hit West End show Billy Elliot danced into the Playhouse Theatre Edinburgh, featuring an all-new touring cast.
2015 saw performances of Dirty Dancing, Joseph and his Technicoloured Dream Coat and Spamalot, Jesus Christ Superstar, Alan Car: Chatty Man, Love Me Tender, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Bodyguard and Shrek The Musical.
2014 saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Fame the Musical, Rock of Ages, Let It Be and Jersey Boys. Wicked also famously took up residency at the theatre for a whopping 2 months. The Edinburgh Playhouse gave Wicked it’s largest ever UK audience!
The Lion King: The West End and Disney Legend that is The Lion King turned the Edinburgh Playhouse into the African Savanna! Simba and his pals performed at the venue Mid October 2013
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: This production ran at the theatre in early October 2013
Hairspray : The rip-roaring Hairspray the musical burst onto the Playhouse stage in September 2013
Dreamboats and Petticoats: The Bill Kenwright tour swung into the Playhouse in July 2013
Cats: The new UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long running musical opened at the venue in February 2013, playing for just under a month.
The Phantom of the Opera: The brand new UK tour played at the venue from 19th September – 20th October 2012.
Les Miserables: The UK tour made a welcome visit to the venue in April 2010.
Miss Saigon: The Playhouse became the second UK venue outside of London to feature Cameron Mackintosh’s epic musical from October 2002 to January 2003
Starlight Express: The Bill Kenwright tour played from 3-14th July 2012.
Mary Poppins: Cameron Mackintosh and Walt Disney Theatricals brought there larger than life production to the theatre in October 2008.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: This phantasmagorical musical flew into the Playhouse in January 2006.