Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh
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The Edinburgh Playhouse is situated on Greenside Place in Edinburgh, close to Edinburgh Waverley rail station. Built in 1929, this 3059 seat venue is said to be haunted by a ghost called Albert. The theatre was designed by architect John Fairweather and opened in the year of its construction.
Originally designed as a theatre, by the time it opened its owners decided to run the Playhouse as a cinema instead. And so it was, for the next four decades. Its first presentation was a film called The Doctor's Secret.
In 1973, a major slump in cinema attendances led to the closure of the Playhouse. It was bought by a property developer who planned to put an office block in its place. Fortunately this didn’t happen, but the building remained under threat for some time.
Two former Playhouse employees campaigned to save the theatre and it was ultimately awarded a class B preservation order by the Secretary of State in 1973. The Edinburgh Playhouse Society was formed two years later and petitioned to re-purpose the venue as a platform for opera and ballet.
After years of campaign pressure, Lothian Regional Council bought and refurbished the Playhouse, which now functions as a combined cinema and theatre. The first theatrical performance it hosted was a Variety Club of Great Britain charity gala in June 1980.
Today, the Edinburgh Playhouse enjoys consistent success and has established a solid reputation for staging a wide variety of musicals, shows and events as well as being home to a youth project which aims to help young people get interested in theatre.
The layout, size and atmosphere of the Edinburgh Playhouse make it the perfect place to see plays, musicals and local shows. Recent successes include Spamalot, Jools Holland, The Phantom Of The Opera, American Idiot, Dirty Dancing, 9-5 The Musical and Starlight Express.
Whatever you decide to see at the Edinburgh Playhouse, we wish you an entertaining and rewarding visit.
Like many theatres in the ‘20s and ‘30s, the Edinburgh Playhouse originally opened as a super-cinema to satisfy the new craze of ‘talking pictures’. It was modelled on the famous Roxy Theatre in New York, after architect Thomas Fairweather studied US cinema design. It remained this way until the 1970s, when it was threatened with demolition. A 15,000-signature petition halted the plans, and luckily the Playhouse was saved and transformed into a theatre, mostly used today for travelling UK productions and youth theatre projects.
A ghost is believed to haunt the Edinburgh Playhouse - in case you want to look for him, he's on level six, wears a grey coat and answers to the name Albert. But he might not be in such a good mood - rumour has it he was a stagehand accidentally killed or a suicidal night watchman.