Edinburgh Playhouse in 2009
|Address||18-22 Greenside Place|
|Location||Edinburgh, Scotland, UK|
|Owner||Ambassador Theatre Group|
|Designation||Listed Building Category A|
Edinburgh Playhouse is a theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. 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.
The theatre opened on 12 August 1929 as a super-cinema, and was modelled on the Roxy Cinema in New York. 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:
"Tones of ivory and stone predominate on the walls, and the roof is decorated with bands of pale green leaves intersected with gold at intervals. The seats in the different parts of the house have been upholstered to harmonise with the general scheme of the decoration. The organ fronts are in Venetian style, and the clock settings, which are square, are neat and attractive."
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.
The front of house sound position is somewhat unusually located at the rear of the Dress Circle. 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.