The Edinburgh Playhouse has had a colourful history. Designed by Glasgow architect, John Fairweather as a variety theatre, it was largely modelled on the Roxy Theatre in New York, but caught up in the new craze sweeping the country, it opened as a cinema on August 12th 1929 with the ‘talkie’ The Doctor’s Secret. Owned by the MacGuire family, it remained a cinema for 40 years until it fell victim to the cinema slump in 1973.

Tender for demolition were invited by advertisement, and a ‘Save the Playhouse’ group was set up, who collected 15,000 signatures against the closure. In 1974 the Playhouse was given listed building status. Then, in 1975 the ‘Edinburgh Playhouse Society’ was formed, a second petition brought a further 13,500 signatures, helping tremendously in saving the building that stands here today.

Over the next 12 years the theatre changed hands 5 times! Until Apollo Leisure took over ownership in December 1985. In 1993 a major refurbishment was undertaken, and The Edinburgh Playhouse was returned to its former glory, soon becoming one of the most successful theatres in Britain.

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