Learn about the history of the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre, the UK’s largest working theatre (in terms of audience capacity; 3,039 seats), and go behind the scenes; even stepping out onto the stage! You get to explore nearly the entire theatre including the directors box, the stage, backstage areas, star dressing rooms, the orchestra’s pit and above the stage (lighting rigs etc.)
Not only will you hear about the history of the theatre, but also of the land it occupies and why it’s fate as an entertainment venue was inevitable; long before the bricks and mortar of the present theatre were laid.
There’s ample time to ask any burning questions you might have, chat informally with the guides, and get the gossip on past performers and shows.
The tour is scheduled to last 90 minutes but ours lasted nearly 2 hours. There wasn’t any clock-watching and it never felt rushed (apart from when some stage-hands were screaming up to move us on from lurking in the rafters above the stage!)
One of the best aspects of the tour is definitely the informative and friendly tour guides. With an abundance of fine Scottish banter and warm, welcoming, personalities, they were only too happy to tell us the stories behind one of Edinburgh’s oldest entertainment establishments.
We went on the tour on the 15th of March 2014 and were lucky enough to see the stage set up from a previous show (and the theatre group packing up – incredibly quickly!). It certainly added to the experience to see a live illustration of the hive of activity surrounding a show.
Finally, you’ll hear about Albert, the theatre’s resident ghost. Said to have been either a stagehand who was killed in an accident or a night-watchman who committed suicide, Albert patrols the 6th floor of the theatre. You might not want to linger behind during this bit of the tour!
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable tour.
When: 10.30am twice a week (Tue and Sat)
Price: £12.50 (concessions available)
Duration: 90 minutes
Accessibility: Lots of climbing stairs, but otherwise accessible to most.
How to book: Visit ATG’s website