About the theatre
The Royal Avenue Theatre opened on the 11th March 1882 with a revival of Offenbach''s Madam Favart. The prefix "Royal" was soon dropped from the theatre''s name, but comic operas, burlesques and the like remained the staple fare for several years. For much of this time, Arthur Roberts, a popular star of the music halls, led the company at the Avenue. In the early 1890s the emphasis changed to drama and in 1894 Miss Horniman, the tea heiress, later a pioneer of the repertory movement, anonymously sponsored the actress Florence Farr in a season of plays. Sadly, the first production failed but Miss Farr persuaded her friend, a certain George Bernard Shaw, to finish his play, Arms and the Man, as a speedy replacement and his first West End production. It was successful enough to allow him to drop his music criticism in favour of play writing. Since then, the beautiful Playhouse has hosted the likes of WS Gilbert, legendary actress-manager Gladys Cooper, the BBC, The Almeida Theatre Company, The Peter Hall Company, and Janet McTeer.
In January 2003, Maidstone Productions became the new independent owners of the Theatre. Maidstone Productions, belonging to London and Broadway producers Ted and Norman Tulchin, has been behind a string of hit productions on both sides of the Atlantic, including Gagarin Way, Eden and Vincent in Brixton in the West End; Yazmina Reza''s The Unexpected Man, as well as Donald Margulies'' Dinner with Friends, which won the Pulitzer Prize. This was in addition to Turgenev''s Fortune''s Fool on Broadway, starring Alan Bates and Frank Langella, both winning Tony Awards for best actor and best supporting actor.
In March 2003, the Ambassador Theatre Group took over the stewardship of the Playhouse Theatre and is responsible for the theatre''s management and programming, working with Maidstone Productions and the team at the theatre.Recent productions include Richard Eyre''s production Vincent in Brixton starring Clare Higgins and Journey''s End directed by David Grindley.
Current shows at Playhouse Theatre
News items for productions at Playhouse Theatre
Archive shows at Playhouse Theatre