The history of the building is leaning back to the 15th century. Back then, it was used as a variety. There’s a rumour that Mary, Queen of Scots, met her future husband there…
How romantic is that?
In 1929, the Playhouse as we know it today had opened their doors for the first time, but as a cinema. This remained until 1973, when it had to close because of financial problems. I r o n i c a l l y , Live and Let Die, was the last showed film.
It reopened again, finally as a theatre in 1980, run by Ambassador Theatre Group. With its 3039 seats in the stalls, balcony and circle, it is one of the biggest theatres in UK. Their highest floor, the balcony, was built many years later to make the theatre bigger and more impressive. Underneath, there is the circle with the director’s box, which is mainly used for VIP guests nowadays.
Well, like almost every place in Edinburgh and theatre’s around the world, the Playhouse has also its own ghost! 1985, the year when the Queen came to visit for a gala, sniffer dogs had to check parts of the building. They did a great job, but in the last and 6th floor, they begun to yelp and run away. Before this happening, a policeman had seen the ghost of Albert, the dead maintenance manager.
Famous touring dramas and concerts such as We will Rock You, Phantom Of The Opera, Mamma Mia and Mary Poppins, were hosted by the Playhouse. Also U2, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Metallica and other musicians like the Girls Aloud for example. During their stay, the theatre crew named their mops after them. Such an honour!
As you may have noticed, there happens a lot on the theatre, especially when it’s so big and famous like Edinburgh’s. If you’d like to hear more stories and have a look backstage, to see the mop-version of Girls Aloud, take part on one of their theatre tours.
by Dilara Yildirim