Embankment Theatres

Embankment TheatresFirst opened in 1870, Embankment is served by the Circle, District, Northern and Bakerloo lines of the London Underground. Embankment tube station is close to Charing Cross station and the north bank of the River Thames. It is also within a short walk of two of the West End's oldest theatres.

Playhouse Theatre

The Playhouse Theatre on Northumberland Avenue sits close to Trafalgar Square in Westminster. The original Royal Avenue Theatre opened in 1882 with a production of Jacques Offenbach's Madame Favart. The West End theatre gained an early reputation for comic operas, burlesque and farces. The theatre also saw George Bernard Shaw's West End debut with Arms and the Man in 1894. In 1907, the rebuilt venue was reopened as the Playhouse. The theatre hosted the premiere of Home and Beauty in 1919 and Henry Daniel in Mr. Abdulla during 1926, and witnessed the stage debut of Alec Guinness in 1934.

By 1951, the Playhouse became a recording studio for the BBC before returning for theatre use in 1987. The current theatre seats 786 on three levels and retains the original sub-stage machinery from the 1907 theatre. Successful productions at the Playhouse have included The Rose Tattoo, Tartuffe, Vincent in Brixton, The Adventure of Tintin, The Harder They Come, La Cage Aux Folles, and Monty Python's Spamalot. Located next to Charring Cross railway station, the Playhouse Theatre is a three minute walk north of Embankment tube station.


The Savoy Theatre opened in October 1881 on the site of the Savoy Palace. The 13th century palace was destroyed during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. In the 16th century, Henry VII planned a hospital for the site. Dissolved in 1702, the hospital was used for other purposes including as a military prison during the 18th century. Again consumed by fire, the remains of the site's buildings were purchased in 1880 to build the Savoy theatre. The Savoy has been rebuilt twice in its history, in 1929 and again in 1993 following a devastating fire in 1990 during renovations. Although the Savoy Hotel's health club sits above the theatre, the 1929 design of the theatre is preserved.

Originally a venue for comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan when it opened in the 1880s, the theatre has also seen some of London's most significant premieres including Oscar Wilde's Salome in 1931 and Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit in 1941. More recently, the Savoy has staged operas, plays, musicals and revivals. The theatre's stage is also used for Shakespeare productions and new plays, such as Never Forget and Legally Blonde. Recent productions have also included Cabaret and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The Savoy accommodates 1,158 theatregoers on three levels. It is a six minute walk north-east of Embankment tube station.