Edinburgh Playhouse

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Edinburgh Playhouse
The Playhouse, Greenside Place - geograph.org.uk - 1346792.jpg
Edinburgh Playhouse in 2009
Address 18-22 Greenside Place
Owner Ambassador Theatre Group
Designation Listed Building Category A
Capacity 3,059
Current use Theatre
Production Touring Productions
Opened 1929
Architect John Fairweather
Edinburgh Playhouse website at Ambassador Theatre Group

Edinburgh Playhouse is a former cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland which now hosts touring musicals and music concerts. Its capacity is 3,059, (Stalls: 1,519, Balcony: 860 and Circle: 680) making it the UK's largest working non-sporting theatre in terms of audience capacity. (The Hammersmith Apollo, which is a similar building, has more seats, but it is only used for concerts, not for musicals.) The theatre is owned by Ambassador Theatre Group.

Building history

The theatre opened in 1929 as a super-cinema, and was modelled on the Roxy Cinema in New York.[1][2] It was designed by the specialist cinema architect John Fairweather, most famous for his Green's Playhouse cinema in Glasgow. The original colour scheme was described on opening as follows:

At the time of its opening, it was the largest cinema in Scotland and the fourth largest in the UK. The building was originally listed Category B in 1974, and this was upgraded by Historic Scotland to Category A in 2008.


In recent years, The Playhouse has played host to a wide variety of artists and shows.

It also caters to the youth of the surrounding area who are involved in stage experience projects and youth musicals projects in which children as young as 10, and young adults as old as 21, can take part in shows on the world-famous stage.

It is used as a venue for both the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe each August.[4]

Technical details

The front of house sound position is somewhat unusually located at the rear of the Dress Circle. Another oddity is the motor hanging points for the advance truss, which are not parallel with the line of the front of stage. The Auditorium Left point is about 500 mm further into the auditorium than the centre and house right. Towards the rear of the stalls, there is 41 mm unistrut Product 221-724 fixed to the ceiling to facilitate the hanging delay speakers. In the Gallery there is also a winch bar across the full width of the auditorium to again facilitate the hanging of delay speakers. The theatre now benefits from a lift to bring up 45' trailers and tractor units up to stage level, which is three floors below street level at the rear of the theatre.


The building is said to be haunted by a ghost called Albert, a man in a grey coat who appears on level six accompanied by a chill in the air. He is variously said to have been either a stagehand who was killed in an accident or a night-watchman who committed suicide. [5]


  1. ^ The Scotsman, 10 August 1929
  2. ^ "Edinburgh Playhouse". Scottish Cinemas. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  3. ^ Kine Weekly, August 1929
  4. ^ "Edinburgh Playhouse". Edinburgh Guide. Retrieved 22 Mar 2016.
  5. ^ "Why you've more than a ghost of a chance of seeing a spook - News - Scotsman.com". News.scotsman.com. 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2012-03-20.

External links

  • ATG website - Edinburgh Playhouse
  • History and photographs
  • Historic Scotland Listed Building Description

Coordinates: 55°57′24.89″N 3°11′7.29″W / 55.9569139°N 3.1853583°W / 55.9569139; -3.1853583

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