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Edinburgh Playhouse

Edinburgh Playhouse

Edinburgh Playhouse Overview

The Edinburgh Playhouse opened its doors for the first time at 2pm on Monday 12 August 1929. Although originally designed as a variety theatre, by the time the building was completed it had been decided to open it as a cinema. The first film to be screened was ‘The Doctor’s Secret’ an adaptation of JM Barrie’s short play ‘Half an Hour’.

The building was owned and run by the Maguire family and was designed by Glasgow architect John Fairweather. On a fact finding trip to America he was impressed by the splendour of the Roxy Theatre in New York and some of its features were said to have inspired the final designs for the Playhouse.

It continued to operate as a successful cinema for over forty years, during which time a number of stars paid a visit, including Marlene Dietrich, Yul Brynner and Laurel and Hardy.

By 1973 the down turn in the cinema business made it impossible to make a profit from such a large single screen venue. Splitting it into a multi screen was considered too costly and so the building was put up for sale. The cinema closed down on the 24 November 1973, with ‘Live and Let Die’ being the last film to be screened.

It was sold to a property developer who applied for planning permission to build an office block and began to arrange for demolishing of the Playhouse. Planning permission was turned down, but the threat of demolition hung over the building for some time.

Soon after the cinema closed Gordon Lucas and Larry McGuire, former employees of the Playhouse, set up the Playhouse Preservation Action Group and began a campaign to save the Playhouse. 15,000 signatures were collected and eventually the Secretary of State placed a class B preservation order on the building.

In 1975 the Edinburgh Playhouse Society was formed. This organisation was particularly interested in seeing the Playhouse being reopened and used for Opera and Ballet. Another petition was started and a further 13,500 signatures were collected.

After more than four years of campaigning the Lothian Regional Council finally agreed to buy the Playhouse and turn it into a multipurpose venue. The cinema was refurbished and opened as a fully functional theatre on 1 June 1980 with a charity gala in aid of the Variety Club of Great Britain.

Since then the Playhouse has changed hands on a number of occasions. Initially into those of a local businessman and subsequently to Apollo Leisure, SFX, Clear Channel Entertainment, Livenation and, as of 2010, The Ambassador Theatre Group.

Over the years the theatre has played host to the world's biggest and most successful musicals, including  Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Grease, Cats, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia, Starlight Express, Mary Poppins and We Will Rock You. Many legendary bands and artists have also graced our stage including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits, BB King, Runrig, The Who, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, U2 and Johnny Cash.

Like every theatre the Playhouse has its resident ghost. He first appeared in the 1950s when a security guard had called the police to investigate noises coming from level 6 in the north tower. The guard was shocked to hear that on investigation the policeman had found no evidence of a break in, but had met Albert the maintenance manager who had assured him that everything was fine. Albert was indeed the maintenance manager, but he had died many years earlier!

Mon 21 - Fri 31
May 2018   May 2019
Bistro: Edinburgh Playhouse
Bistro: Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Mon 21 - Sat 09
May 2018   Jun 2018
Wicked (UK Tour)
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 12 - Sat 16
Jun 2018   Jun 2018
Titanic The Musical
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 19 - Sat 23
Jun 2018   Jun 2018
Summer Holiday
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sun 24
Jun 2018
Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Thu 28
Jun 2018
Ben Howard
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 29
Jun 2018
The Waterboys
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Mon 02 - Sat 07
Jul 2018   Jul 2018
An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 10 - Sat 14
Jul 2018   Jul 2018
THE BAND: Take That's New Musical
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sat 28
Jul 2018
PAW Patrol Live!
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 03 - Sat 04
Aug 2018   Aug 2018
Forth on the Fringe
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 07 - Fri 10
Aug 2018   Aug 2018
Frankie Boyle - Prometheus Volume III
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sat 18
Aug 2018
Waverley Care Comedy Gala
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Thu 30
Aug 2018
The League Of Gentlemen Live Again
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sun 09
Sep 2018
Dave Gorman - With Great PowerPoint Comes Great ResponsibilityPoint
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Thu 13
Sep 2018
51 Shades of Maggie
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 14
Sep 2018
The Dreamboys
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sat 15
Sep 2018
Crossing Over With John Edward
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Mon 17 - Sat 22
Sep 2018   Sep 2018
Benidorm
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sun 23
Sep 2018
Islands In The Stream
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Wed 26 - Sun 30
Sep 2018   Sep 2018
Kevin Bridges - The Brand New Tour
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 02 - Sat 06
Oct 2018   Oct 2018
Madagascar – A Musical Adventure
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sun 07
Oct 2018
Soul Unlimited: Heatwave, Odyssey, Jaki Graham & Gwen Dickey
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Mon 08 - Sat 13
Oct 2018   Oct 2018
Let It Be
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sun 21
Oct 2018
Some Guys Have All the Luck - The Rod Stewart Story
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 23 - Sat 27
Oct 2018   Oct 2018
Saturday Night Fever
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 02
Nov 2018
The Dolls - Dragged Up
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Mon 05
Nov 2018
Maximum RnB with The Manfreds
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Wed 07
Nov 2018
Joe Lycett: I'm About To Lose Control And I Think Joe Lycett
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 09 - Sat 10
Nov 2018   Nov 2018
The Proclaimers
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Sun 11
Nov 2018
Noel Fitzpatrick is the Supervet
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 13
Nov 2018
An Evening with King Crimson
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Thu 15
Nov 2018
Dita Von Teese
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 16 - Sat 17
Nov 2018   Nov 2018
Dara O Briain - Voice of Reason
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 20 - Sat 08
Nov 2018   Dec 2018
Motown The Musical
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Mon 10 - Sat 05
Dec 2018   Jan 2019
Kinky Boots
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 05 - Sat 09
Feb 2019   Feb 2019
American Idiot
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 19 - Sat 02
Feb 2019   Mar 2019
Jersey Boys
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 02 - Sat 27
Apr 2019   Apr 2019
Matilda The Musical
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Tue 30 - Sat 04
Apr 2019   May 2019
Rock of Ages
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 10 - Sat 11
May 2019   May 2019
Strictly Come Dancing The Professionals
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Fri 31
Dec 2027
Seat Sponsorship
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh