Harold Pinter Theatre

Harold Pinter Theatre

6 Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DN
West End

The Harold Pinter Theatre opened on 15th October 1881 as a comic opera house. Designed by Thomas Verity, it was built very quickly over six months by J. H. Addison. Built on four levels, the top three took on a horseshoe shape around the Stalls, and the auditorium featured 14 boxes on each side of the stage. Its name on opening was the Royal Comedy Theatre, though its ‘Royal’ epithet was dropped in 1884.

The famous operetta Falka premiered in London at the Comedy Theatre in 1883, and was followed by another successful London premiere, Erminie by Edward Jakobowski, in 1885. The theatre’s fame grew during the first World War when the impresarios Charles Blake Cochran and André Charlot presented hugely popular revues at the venue.

The Comedy Theatre is also famously known for establishing the New Watergate Club in 1956, a society which helped overturn the stage censorship enforced by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. The formation of the Club meant that the plays banned by the Government could be performed at this venue as it was now being run as a private club rather than a commercial entity. Notable plays in this category include Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge ​(1956) and Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958). The censorship was finally overturned in 1968.

The 1950s also saw a major reconstruction of the Comedy Theatre but the auditorium retains most of the Renaissance character originally built in 1881 and the original orchestra pit still exists, though is very rarely used.

The theatre was renamed in 2011. The works of Harold Pinter had been performed often at this theatre – productions of The Homecoming, The Caretaker, Moonlight, No-man’s Land and The Hothouse had all enjoyed successful runs here, and Pinter directed a production of The Old Masters here in 2004, the last play he directed before his death in 2008. After his death, it was thought fitting to bestow the honour of naming a theatre after him, and the name was officially changed on 13th October 2011 to the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Over recent years, the Harold Pinter has seen a number of limited run plays on its stage, with recent examples including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Hamlet starring Andrew Scott, and Oslo.

The Harold Pinter Theatre is owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group. 


The auditorium has four levels – Stalls, Dress Circle, Royal Circle and Balcony.

The Stalls is a single block of seats, and offers good sightlines other than the last few rows, which have their few impaired by supportive pillars and the overhang of the Dress Circle. This is reflected in the pricing for these seats.

The Dress Circle doesn’t offer a great raking in the seating, but the view is not affected by the overhang of the Royal Circle. There are supportive pillars, however.

The Royal Circle also doesn’t have much of a rake in the seating, and the legroom can be a problem. The seats curve towards the stage more noticeably than the Dress Circle.

The Balcony feels very high in this theatre, though not enough to induce vertigo in sufferers.


Last Decade of Performances

Show Opened Closed Links
Oslo October 2017 December 2017  
Hamlet June 2017 September 2017 Review
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? February 2017 May 2017 Review
Nice Fish November 2016 February 2017 Review
Sunny Afternoon October 2014 October 2016 Review
The Importance of Being Earnest July 2014 September 2014 Review
Relative Values April 2014 June 2014 Review
Mojo October 2013 February 2014 Review
Chimerica August 2013 October 2013  
Old Times January 2013 April 2013 Review
A Chorus of Disapproval September 2012 January 2013 Review
South Downs / The Browning Version April 2012 July 2012 Review
Absent Friends January 2012 April 2012 Review
Death and the Maiden October 2011 January 2012 Review
Betrayal May 2011 August 2011 Review
The Children's Hour January 2011 April 2011 Review
Birdsong September 2010 January 2011 Review
La Bête July 2010 September 2010 Review
Prick up your Ears September 2009 December 2009 Review
Too Close to the Sun July 2009 August 2009 Review
Sunset Boulevard December 2008 May 2009 Review
Dickens Unplugged May 2008 June 2008 Review
The Lover / The Collection January 2008 May 2008 Review
Boeing-Boeing February 2007 January 2008 Review
The Rocky Horror Show December 2006 January 2007  
Donkeys' Years May 2006 December 2006 Review


Travel Info
Nearest tube: 
Piccadilly Circus
Tube lines: 
Bakerloo, Piccadilly
Railway station: 
Charing Cross
Bus numbers: 
(Haymarket) 3, 6, 12, 13, 19, 23, 38, 88, 139; (Piccadilly Circus) 14, 22, 94
Night bus numbers: 
(Haymarket) 6, 12, 23, 139, 88, N3, N13, N18, N19, N38, N97, N136, N550, N551; (Piccadilly Circus) 14, 94, N22
Car park: 
Leicester Square, Whitcomb Street (1min)
Within congestion zone?: 
Directions from tube: 
(3mins) Take Coventry Street up to Oxendon Road; the theatre is 100 metres along on the right.
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