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Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5DE

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  • Cyrano de Bergerac

    Until Feb 29, 2020

  • A Doll's House

    Jun 10 - Sep 5, 2020

Cyrano de Bergerac Poster

Cyrano de Bergerac

Until February 29, 2020

Hollywood heavyweight James McAvoy returns to the West End in 2019 in the Jamie Lloyd (Betrayal, The Ruling Class) helmed revival of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac. Adapted by Martin Crimp, Cyrano de Bergerac follows a swashbuckling soldier whose quest for true love makes him confront his biggest insecurity... his rather larger nose.

A Doll's House Poster

A Doll's House

June 10 - September 5, 2020

Hollywood powerhouse Jessica Chastain makes her West End debut in a new version of the Henrik Ibsen classic, A Doll's House courtesy of the Jamie Lloyd Company residency at the Playhouse Theatre. Directed by Lloyd himself the 1800's masterpiece is slightly re-worked by Frank McGuinness. Known for her stunning performances in Molly's Game and Interstellar, Chastain will take on Nora, one of theatre's most prolific heroines, in this strictly limited run.

Playhouse Theatre

venue exterior

Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5DE

  • Year opened: 1882
  • Capacity: 786
  • Disabled access

Snugly situated below Charing Cross train station, the petite Playhouse has proven itself to be a hardy theatre over the last century and a bit. First built as the Royal Avenue Theatre in 1882, it did a roaring trade in Comic Opera, farce, and burlesque as presented by the era's music hall superstar Arthur Roberts. But by the 1890s, she had changed hands and was known for its dramas, with George Bernard Shaw's London debut, The Arms and The Man, opening there in 1894.

The early 20th Century saw a tragedy when, during a renovation in 1905, a crash at the station above collapsed the ceiling and six workmen were killed. It went on to open again in 1907 with a short sketch from Shaw marking the occasion, and flourished for some years before the war saw audience levels fall.

In 1951, another change of pace saw the theatre requisitioned by the BBC as a live studio, hosting episodes of The Goon Show and Hancock's Half Hour among music performances from rock and roll's finest including The Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. In 1976 however, the recording light went out for good and The Playhouse's fate looked bleak.

After ten years standing empty and in danger of demolition, the theatre found new hope in owner Robin Gonshaw, who spruced it up and launched the musical Girlfriends. The next year, 1988, novelist and ex-politician Jeffrey Archer scooped it up for a million pounds, before flipping it the following year for double that.

Since then, The Playhouse has once again offered a mixed genre of shows to see, with its doors open for everything from the National Theatre's award-winning revival of J.B Priestley's An Inspector Calls, wartime dramas like Journey's End, myriad jukebox musicals, Lindsay Lohan's stage debut, The Rocky Horror Show's 30th Anniversary and many, many more. A little stuffy in the summer months, The Playhouse more than makes up for it in history, charm and the fact that its diminutive size means there isn't a bad seat in the house.

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