The Playhouse Theatre is a West End theatre located near Trafalgar Square near Northumberland Avenue. The theatre was designed in 1882 by architect F.H. Fowler Hill with a capacity of 1,200. It was later rebuilt in 1907 to the designs of Blow and Billerey, which reduced the auditorium to 679 seats.
The early days of the renovated venue saw it host the premiere of W. Somerset Maugham’s Home And Beauty in 1919, which ran for 235 performances. The writer established an association with the theatre during these years, which also hosted his play The Letter, starring Robert Crosbie.
For a few decades the Playhouse Theatre was taken over by the BBC, who used the space as a recording studio for live performances. Many famous shows were recorded at the theatre during this time, including The Goons, Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son. This period also saw live performances by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Queen, as well as a live broadcast of a Pink Floyd concert.
Following the departure of the BBC, the theatre was under threat of demolition. It was eventually saved by the novelist and politician, Jeffrey Archer, who purchased the venue for around £1 million. Since then the Playhouse Theatre has moved from strength to strength, hosting plays and musicals from many different successful companies.