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Sam Wanamaker Playhouse London

About the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse London opened in January 2014 as a faithful replica of 17th century candlelit theatres. It is located on the same site as the Globe Theatre, and usually hosts performances during the colder months. 

Shakespeare's Globe Founder Sam Wanamaker always envisioned an indoor theatre to complement the open-air Globe, and the Playhouse's red brick shell was already in place when the Globe Theatre opened in 1997. It was used as a workshop and rehearsal space for many years before work to convert it into an active venue began in 2012. The Globe’s Architecture Research Group and architects Allies & Morrison consulted sketches of real Jacobean playhouses to create an accurate performance space. 

The playhouse is an intimate venue with a green oak frame. It is lit by over 100 beeswax candles and has authentic design features including wood carvings and benched seating. Look up as you enter: the beautiful painted ceiling depicts the moon goddess Luna amongst clouds, created by a team led by artist Zaza Opperman. 

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opened with a revival of the Jacobean tragedy The Duchess of Malfi. It has hosted several acclaimed productions including Farinelli and the King starring Mark Rylance.

Frequently Asked Questions

The box office is open for general and ticketing enquiries between 11am - 6pm on Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm on Saturdays, and 11am - 5pm on Sundays. Tickets can be collected on the day of the performance, or are sent electronically to the email address you booked with, up to one day before.
The theatre is part of Shakespeare’s Globe, which opens daily from 10am. Try to arrive at the theatre at least 30 minutes before the start of your performance to get through security checks and reach your seats.
There is a bar on the upper level of the venue, and theatregoers can take drinks into the auditorium. The Swan bar and restaurant is also located on-site, with seasonal menus for pre-theatre dining and refreshments.
There is no dress code for visitors to the indoor playhouse. If you have a standing ticket, it is best to wear comfortable shoes - you will be on your feet for at least an hour at a time.
The cloakroom is currently closed. Visitors can take bags up to 40cm x 35cm x 19cm into the building. There are also exceptions for larger bags containing medical or childcare equipment. 

There are many local luggage storage facilities for larger bags such as Stasher and Luggage Hero. Locations and pre-booking are available online.
There is air-conditioning at the theatre, to prevent the small auditorium from becoming too warm.
Borough Market is a short walk away and has a wide range of sit-down and street food dining including Middle Eastern mezze outlet Arabica and Italian spot La Tua Pasta. There are also plenty of popular chain restaurants along Bankside including Wagamama and Pizza Express.
If you are visiting the theatre on a budget, Ibis Southwark is great for simple, comfortable rooms within walking distance of the theatre. For more of a treat, The Hoxton in Southwark boasts a modern, creative design with an on-site all-day bar and restaurant.
The box office can be contacted by phone on +44 (0)20 7401 9919 or by email at
The venues are two different theatres located on the same site in Bankside, London. Both theatres are owned by the same company. Unlike Shakespeare’s Globe which is an open-air outdoor theatre, the Playhouse is an indoor venue. It is lit by candlelight and based on the 16th-century Blackfriars Theatre. 

Shakespeare's Globe usually operates during the summer and the Sam Wanamaker during winter, but they sometimes share seasons.
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