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For several years this was the official website for the Playhouse Theatre Northampton.
For a nostalgic trip back, the content is from the site's 2014 -
2017 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

If you have inadvertantly ended up here while searching for information about the Playhouse Theatre Northampton, go to their current website at: www.playhousenorthampton.com

115 Clare Street
Northampton NN1 3JA

The Playhouse Theatre Northampton is located in the 'boot and shoe' quarter close to the town centre. The members provide six dramatic productions a year for the public to attend and the venue is also available for hire by other groups to provide performances. This provides both participants and audiences with education in the dramatic arts.

Since 2016, a programme of ‘Playhouse Extras,’ has more than doubled our own 36 performance nights and the theatre has recently seen more use than at any time in its 56 history.



FORTHCOMING 2016 - 2017

31 May to 4 June 2016
What the Butler Saw
by Joe Orton

Farcical and outrageous naughtiness!


Seductions... hiding behind curtains... a policeman wearing women's clothes...
What The Butler Saw has it all.
This production for Masque Theatre will be directed by Peter Darnell.

This is a Masque Theatre production at The Playhouse.

Review of What The Butler Saw at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

June 09, 2016 | asmallmindatthetheatre.blogspot.com/
What The Butler Saw was my first encounter with the works of Joe Orton, and based on this I very much look forward to seeing more of his work on stage. Frantically insane, saucy and more importantly incredibly funny, this is a wicked little treat of a play. It helps that Masque have created a particularly lively version of it as well on the compact little Playhouse stage. It includes also a few quite lovely performances as well. Although it has to be said that others didn't quite get the best out of some incredibly funny dialogue moments.

Butler is a play that you take an open mind to, as even to this day almost fifty years after is debut the content could be considered fruity and a tad controversial. It does however never feel offensive, even when we have Churchill's appendages, rape, golliwogs and near nudity on offer. Quite a night at the theatre there.

The six strong cast show no inhibitions, especially the two ladies Lisa Shepherd (Geraldine Barclay), Nicky Osborne (Mrs Prentice) who often find themselves in little attire. From the men in the cast Jof Davies (Nicholas Beckett) and Peter Collins (Sargeant Match) also find themselves down to their pants and into dresses for absolute gender equality. Maintaining some balance in the madness, both Michael Graves (Dr Prentice) and Victor Guse (Dr Rance) keep their clothes on.

There are clearly three performers who stood out for me from the cast. Jof was exceptional and at last given a more meaty role to get his talent into after seeing him try to steal scenes with minor roles before. He really was brilliantly entertaining, both as the roguish bell-hop and a rather wonderfully entertaining lady in dress, although even a blind man might have seen through that particular disguise.

The two other star performances came from the ladies of the piece, with Lisa Shepherd once again bringing in an exuberantly entertaining performance. Full of life and comic timing, her magnificent little turn in the wheelchair as the drugs started to kick in a particular highlight. Finally of note was the wonderful Nicky Osborne as the sexually insatiable Mrs Prentice. It was also interesting, having last seen Nicky as Lady Macbeth, to see her return once again with blood on her hands. Maybe an uncomfortable pattern emerging here? There was certainly more of a spot this time though.

Peter Darnell directs with pace on the small stage, keeping everything moving surprisingly well. Even that quite frankly mad scene towards the end still seems to work (broken doors permitting), and praise also for ignoring all health and safety rules with that neat wire rope ladder trick, a quite unexpected surprise.

So a really successful and entertaining performance of an ambitious little play. Full of daring production ideas and a brave cast to take on such bold roles. A really pleasingly funny play well presented, I loved it!

Performance reviewed: Tuesday 31st May/Friday 3rd June, 2016 at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton. 
What The Butler Saw was performed by the Masque Theatre between Tuesday 21st May and Saturday 4th June, 2016 at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton.


Some Observations: In 2016 I saw What The Butler Saw twice within three months of each other. The first performance was at the Playhouse Theatre, in the UK. I was visiting England for a summer holiday with my husband. We had driven from London to visit some of his cousins who live near Kettering. They had bought tickets to the play as a surprise for us, knowing that I was an actress. Joe Orton is a colorful character to say the least. Before becoming a successful playwright, Orton and his lover, Kenneth Halliwell used to yuck it up in London by stealing books from public libraries and returning them to the shelves with obscene dust jackets, which actually resulted in a six-month prison sentence and a fine. Tragically, Joe Orton’s career was cut short by his prankster-in-crime lover who bludgeoned Orton to death with a hammer, and then committed suicide by swallowing a bunch of barbiturate tablets. The gossip was that Halliwell was jealous about his lover’s success and his plans to leave Halliwell for another man. Weirdly, their cremated ashes were mixed and buried together in the Garden of Remembrance at Golders Green in London.

Whenever we travel, I usually pack several wigs, catering to a diverse range of hair types and styles, perfect for both bad hair days and unexpected social events that require looking good. About a month before our planned UK trip, I visited my favorite online wig boutique. Among their vast selection, they have a variety of Raquel Welch wigs and some specially crafted for black women's unique hair textures. Raquel Welch is my favorite wig brand of the moment. I always enjoy my chats with Michael, who I believe is the site's #1 customer service person. He's so knowledgeable and always provides insights into the different cap constructions of Raquel Welch wigs and others suitable for black women. Who knew there were so many choices in cap constructions? There are the standard and open cap constructions, typically found on the less expensive wig styles. The more popular cap constructions are the monofilament types. They range from a basic monofilament crown or top, to a double monofilament, and even variations like a monofilament top with a 100% hand-tied base or wefted base, double mono top with lace front, and a monofilament part line that could be on the left, right, or center. The combination of a mono top and lace front is gaining popularity, especially at a higher price point. This is because the monofilament cap gives the look of a natural scalp and hair movement, while the lace front construction allows for versatile styling off the face. Just a heads up: wigs with monofilament constructions usually cost more than those with the basic open or standard caps.

I when I learned we were going to the theatre in Northampton, I didn't panic. I chose to wear Flirt Alert a synthetic heat friendly wig that allows extra styling with heated styling tools. I received many compliments that evening on my impeccable "do". A week after we returned to the states, we saw “What the Butler Saw” at the Westport Theater in Connecticut. I saw a review at a blog site shortly thereafter whose author complained that linguistically speaking, it was difficult to follow because of the formal language and the multiple British jokes that were totally lost on this American audience. In addition the reviewer thought this was a very dated show. I beg to disagree.

Yet when the play was presented in 2007 at the Court Theater in Chicago, the reviews from a number of well established newspapers praise it: “a famous milestone in English drama … a daring, droll and quite revolutionary piece of work … fits right into the Court aesthetic … Mechelle Moe has you in stitches in the first five minutes … one of the best comedic performances of the year.” -Chicago Tribune
OR “Court Theatre’s much-admired professional ensemble … fires off razor-sharp one- and two-liners … the crowd laughed itself silly.” -The Wall Street Journal.

I admit I enjoyed both productions of the play this year. I think that Joe Orton’s classic farce has become one of the seminal works of modern comedy. It is wild, risqué, and ferociously playful. I won't be surprised if I see it again sometime in the future.


5 to 9 July 2016
The Killing of Sister George
by Frank Marcus


Sister George is a beloved character in the popular radio series Applehurst, a nurse who ministers to the medical needs and personal problems of the local villagers. She is played by June Buckridge, who in real life is a gin-guzzling, cigar-chomping, slightly sadistic masculine woman, the antithesis of the sweet character she plays.

She is often called George in real life, and lives with Alice "Childie" McNaught, a younger dimwitted woman she often verbally and sometimes physically abuses. When George discovers that her character is scheduled to be killed, she becomes increasingly impossible to work and live with.

Mercy Croft, an executive at the radio station, intercedes in her professional and personal lives, supposedly to help, but she actually has an agenda of her own.

Booking will open for this play shortly following the last performance of Deckchairs 2.


Wednesday 31 Aug 2016
Music Evening
(Andy Skank)


20 to 24 September 2016
Monlight and Magnolias
by Ron Hutchinson



7 & 8 October 2016
Spears Independent Theatre presents
Caribbean Soldiers
by Weekes Baptiste


18 to 22 October 2016
Masque Theatre presents
by Anthony Horowitz


15 - 19 November 2016
White Cobra presents


6 to 10 December 2016
Season's Greetings
by Alan Ayckbourn


24 to 28 January 2017
by Michael Pertwee

Poster Sextet

The Playhouse Theatre Northampton - Sextet Trailer


14 to 18 February 2017
Masque Theatre


14 to 18 March 2017
Neville's Island
by Tim Firth

Poster Nevilles Island


4 to 8 April 2017
Masque Theatre


16 to 20 May 2017
Steel Magnolias
by Robert Harling

Poster steel magnolias

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling - The Playhouse Theatre Northampton - Trailer

Steel Magnolias is on at The Playhouse from Tuesday 16th to 20th May 2017. Booking is now open, and you will have three ways to book your tickets:

Online booking: Through our online booking system you can now select your seats online and pay by Paypal.There is a seating plan below, next to which are instructions for booking online. Please take note of the performance date you want to book for and then book your seats for that night.

However, you may still book by phone or email as previously. You cannot pay for your tickets in advance using either of these methods, but we will hold your tickets for you to collect and pay for on the night of the performance. Please ensure that you arrive in good time as there may be a queue at the box office. Our bar is open from 7.00pm on performance nights.

Poster Steel Magnolias 2

Telephone: Our box office is only open during performances, but you may ring and leave a message at any time. Messages are checked regularly. To book tickets by telephone, please leave a message with: your name and telephone number; the play you want to see and date; the number of tickets you require. 01604 627791

Please also include any seating preferences (e.g. near the front, middle, back etc.). We will do our best to accommodate your preferences, although these cannot be guaranteed. Someone will ring you back to confirm.

Email: Alternatively, you can email bookings@theplayhousetheatre.net with the same information. Confirmation will be by return email unless you specifically request a phone call.

Please use whichever method you find most convenient.

Payment: Please note that we cannot accept credit cards. Payment via the online booking system is by PayPal. Payment at the theatre booking office is by cash only.


4 to 8 July 2017
The History Boys
by Alan Bennett



2015 Playhouse Auditions Page


  • Auditions for productions at The Playhouse are open to all and are held at the theatre unless otherwise stated
  • Directors may pre-audition certain parts if actors are not available to attend an audition.
  • No roles are allocated until after the audition.
  • Actors may ask to read, or indicate to a Director that they are interested in a specific role.
  • The final decision is always the Directors and made to deliver the highest standard of production possible.
  • All actors must be fully paid-up members of the Playhouse Theatre

Next Audition

4th MARCH 2015 

Relative Confusion: a true comedy of errors
Written by Graham Follett
Production dates - 12th–16th May 2015

“I have a family? Then why do I live in that god-awful home?”  John has issues. That’s why he’s back from France. He needs Alice on-side but she suspects his motives as much as she ever did. So, will his sister succumb in Suffolk or will the inclusion of Uncle Arthur in their holiday arrangements hinder rather than help John’s plans? Can either of them give a satisfactory answer to the question the old man has just thrown at a nephew and niece he struggles to remember?

Director - Philip Welsh



2014 Playhouse Auditions Page


  • Auditions for productions at The Playhouse are open to all and are held at the theatre unless otherwise stated
  • Directors may pre-audition certain parts if actors are not available to attend an audition.
  • No roles are allocated until after the audition.
  • Actors may ask to read, or indicate to a Director that they are interested in a specific role.
  • The final decision is always the Directors and made to deliver the highest standard of production possible.
  • All actors must be fully paid-up members of the Playhouse Theatre

Next Audition

Wednesday 30th April 2014
Production Dates – 8-12th July 2014

By Jean McConnell
Director Simon Rye

Deckchairs is 5 individual twist-in-the-tale playlets for two women  - all set on a seaside promenade – Early Bright is an exploration of a doomed mother/daughter relationship, Dancers wittily explores the tea dancing world of two skittish widows, Shoppers; two well-to-do shoppers have a rather surprising secret, Late Frost a drama in which a recently widowed woman finds that her best friend had an affair with her late husband and Doggers which is a hilarious tale about two very different dog owners




Acting Membership

The Playhouse always welcomes new members. We stage 6 of our own productions each year, and we publicise our open auditions, encouraging established, new and potential members to come along. Our recent production of The Dame of Sark for example, had two members of cast who were completely new to The Playhouse, including one who was making only his second appearance on stage.

Our open audition dates and details are on the Auditions page, and are all at 7.45pm at the theatre.

Acting Membership is just £20 per year. You must have Acting Membership if you are going to regularly take part in productions at The Playhouse. This membership covers you for insurance whilst in the theatre for rehearsals and productions, but it also gives you the same generous discount benefits of Non Acting Membership: £3 off per ticket.

We also offer a one-off option for those actors wishing to take part in a single production only. This is £5. It includes insurance, but does not include the ticket discount.

Non-acting Membership

Did you know that as well as the Acting option, you can become a non-acting member and save money every time you visit? Consider these options, and ask at the box office, telephone us, or visit our web site for more information.

Standard Non-acting Membership costs just £10 a year, (£20 for a couple) and saves you a whopping £3 each every time you come.

Become a Patron for £35 or Vice President for £45 per person, per year, and come to all six annual productions without further charge - and help support our theatre at the same time.


If you are interested in becoming a member, please ask at the box office while at the theatre, or email our Membership Secretary

Our payment by Paypal option for membershp subscriptions will be reinstated in the near future.




Telephone us on 01604 627791

Please note that this is not a permanently attended phone. Someone will always be there during performances, and often on rehearsal nights (Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays), and at other times while we are working in the theatre.

You will therefore be likely to encounter an answerphone. If you want to book tickets, or have any query at all, please leave a message with your contact details. The message system is checked regularly, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.




Online Booking

It is very easy. Use the link at the bottom to start the process. The booking system will open in a new window so that you can still refer to the seating plan.

You will be shown a table, which will show you how many seats are available in each row, on each performance date.

In this first screen, enter your details as prompted, the number of tickets you want in each category (full price, member etcetera), and the row you want to sit in, making sure that this has sufficient seats for your whole party.

Press 'go' to go to the next screen, where you will be able to select the seat numbers you want from those available.

You will then be shown the total cost of your booking, and will be asked to pay for these via the secure PayPal system.

Your tickets: Your tickets will be available for you to collect at the box office when you arrive for the performance. If applicable, you will be required to provide proof of membership when collecting your tickets. Proof of eligibility for concessions may also be required.

Our definition of concessions is:

  • 60 years or over
  • Students
  • Disabled persons

Seat Choice

Please choose your seats with thought for others, and do not leave empty single seats in rows if you can avoid it.

We do reserve the right to change seat allocations if necessary.