The Harold Pinter Theatre opened on 15 October 1881 as the Royal Comedy Theatre. The theatre's reputation grew through the First World War when C B Cochran and André Charlot presented their famous review shows. The range of work at The Harold Pinter Theatre has been far reaching, from musical comedies to revival and experimental theatre and includes hugely successful shows such as Savages starring Paul Scofield in 1973 and The Rocky Horror Show making its West End debut in 1979. Alan Bennett has appeared with Patricia Routledge in his Talking Heads and Stockard Channing appeared in Six Degrees of Separation, which won best play at the 1993 Olivier Awards.
The Homecoming, No-man's Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse and The Caretaker have all been presented in recent years. Maureen Lipman has also graced The Harold Pinter Theatre stage starring in Alan Plater's highly acclaimed comedy, Peggy For You, but The Harold Pinter Theatre's two biggest successes must be The Caretaker starring Michael Gambon in 2000 and an eight week sell out of Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs in 1999, starring Ewan McGregor and directed by Denis Lawson, which smashed all box office records. More recently, Francesca Annis and Anthony Andrews have starred in Ibsen's Ghosts and 2004 saw the much lauded revival of RC Sherriff's Journey's End and a successful run of The Old Masters by Simon Gray, starring Edward Fox and Peter Bowles.
This production was directed by Harold Pinter. In January 2005, Kim Cattrall starred in Peter Hall's production of Whose Life Is It Anyway? by Brian Clark, followed by Tom Courtenay in Brian Friel's The Home Place and Joseph Fiennes and Francesca Annis starred in Epitaph for George Dillon by John Osborne and Anthony Creighton. The Playhouse has also played host to Steptoe and Son, Michael Frayn's Donkey's Years, the Rocky Horror Show, and most recently the hilarious high-flying comedy, Boeing-Boeing.