PIN Harold Pinter Theatre

Nice Playhouse in Panton Street

The Harold Pinter Theatre, formerly the Comedy Theatre until 2011 is a Grade 2 listed West End theatre, which opened on Panton Street in the City of Westminster, on 15 October 1881, as the Royal Comedy Theatre. It was designed by Thomas Verity and built in just six months in painted (stucco) stone and brick. By 1884 it was known as just the Comedy Theatre. In the mid-1950s the theatre underwent major reconstruction and re-opened in December 1955; the auditorium remains essentially that of 1881, with three tiers of horseshoe-shaped balconies.


In 1883, the successful operetta Falka had its London première at the theatre, and in 1885, Erminie did the same. The theatre's reputation grew through the First World War when Charles Blake Cochran and André Charlot presented their famous revue shows. Famous actors who appeared here include Henry Daniell who played John Carlton in Secrets in September 1929.

The theatre was notable for the role it played in overturning stage censorship by establishing the New Watergate Club in 1956, under producer Anthony Field. The Theatres Act 1843 was still in force and required scripts to be submitted for approval by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Formation of the club allowed plays that had been banned due to language or subject matter to be performed under "club" conditions.

Plays produced in this way included the UK premières of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, Robert Anderson's Tea and Sympathy and Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. The law was not revoked until 1968, but in the late 1950s there was a loosening of conditions in theatre censorship, the club was dissolved and Peter Shaffer's Five Finger Exercise premièred to a public audience.

The Homecoming, No-man's Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse and The Caretaker have all been presented in recent years. Maureen Lipman has also graced The Harold Pinter Theatre stage starring in Alan Plater's highly acclaimed comedy, Peggy For You, but The Harold Pinter Theatre's two biggest successes must be The Caretaker starring Michael Gambon in 2000 and an eight week sell out of Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs in 1999, starring Ewan McGregor and directed by Denis Lawson, which smashed all box office records. More recently, Francesca Annis and Anthony Andrews have starred in Ibsen's Ghosts and 2004 saw the much lauded revival of RC Sherriff's Journey's End and a successful run of The Old Masters by Simon Gray, starring Edward Fox and Peter Bowles.

This production was directed by Harold Pinter. In January 2005, Kim Cattrall starred in Peter Hall's production of Whose Life Is It Anyway? by Brian Clark, followed by Tom Courtenay in Brian Friel's The Home Place and Joseph Fiennes and Francesca Annis starred in Epitaph for George Dillon by John Osborne and Anthony Creighton. The Playhouse has also played host to Steptoe and Son, Michael Frayn's Donkey's Years, the Rocky Horror Show, and most recently the hilarious high-flying comedy, Boeing-Boeing.

TripTide Thoughts:

The theatre itself is nice, although it was a little difficult to get drinks at the bar during the interval, but then they do offer the option of having refreshments delivered to your seat (we didn't see this until it was too late!). Overall though, it was a very good night and our enjoyment of the show was ensured

How to get there

The Harold Pinter Theatre is situated just off Haymarket on Panton Street. The theatre is close to the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Her Majesty's Theatre as well as the rest of Theatreland. As the theatre is located just a stones throw away from the busy tourist area of Piccadilly Circus, there are plenty of transportation links to the area as well as lots to do in terms of other attractions and places to drink and dine.


  • Indoor
  • , Theatreland
  • , West End
  • , Downtown Westminster


Lucy is a TripTide stalwart and has been with the company since inception. She is a font of knowledge of all things in our metropolis but she has a special penchant for London's historical past. She says:"London is a multi-layered confection of hi...


The Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street , London , SW1 4DN (View on Google Maps)
Harold Pinter Theatre

from £47.00-119.00 per person

concessions are available

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