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Southwark Playhouse

A guide to the Southwark Theatre in London's theatreland

The Southwark Playhouse Theatre Company was founded in 1993 and is currently based at Newington Causeway within walking distance of Elephant and Castle. This is pending refurbishment of its former home in vaults below London Bridge railway station, which is being redeveloped. From 2018, it will be based here.

The current theatre, which is located in a three-storey warehouse, has two auditoria, a 240-seat main house and a second space seating 150. It also has a cafe-bar. The venue is on a busy road with pubs, cafes and restaurants nearby offering a range of cuisine including Italian, Indian, Spanish, French and Cantonese. The intimacy of the venue, and its proximity to places to eat and drink, either before or after your theatre visit, make it a great spot to visit with your family or partner. Or why not try a lastminute.com theatre meal deal?

The theatre is three minutes walk from the Elephant and Castle tube station and five minutes from Borough. The nearest overground railway station is the Elephant and Castle.

The history

The Southwark Theatre Company was born out of a perceived need for highly accessible, high-quality and cutting-edge theatre in traditional and non-traditional theatre environments. It was to be a community resource and during its early years it put down strong local roots. It worked with schools, the local council, businesses and other agencies to improve educational achievement and raise aspirations among children.

It has moved twice to date, from its original home in Southwark Bridge Road in 2006, to the vaults underneath London Bridge railway station. When the redevelopment of the station was announced, the theatre company was at risk at losing its home. However, a campaign headed by actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry led to an agreement being reached between the company and Network Rail. After the agreement was reached, it was announced that the company had won a Peter Brook Empty Space award in recognition of its artistic achievements. When the redevelopment of the theatre space is completed, it should increase the capacity of the venue by a third.

Productions staged at the Southwark Playhouse have included In The Heights, a Tony Award-winning musical with a Latin and hip-hop infused score, Bat Boy: The Musical, Rosie's Magic Horse, a production for children, As You Like It and Dogfight.

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