**The Harold Pinter Theatre** (formerly The Comedy Theatre), is a London West End theatre that opened on Panton Street in the City of Westminster on 15 October 1881. It was known then as the Royal Comedy Theatre. ### **The Harold Pinter Theatre**: History The theatre was designed by **Thomas Verity** and built in just six months in painted stucco stone and brick. By 1884 it was known as just the Comedy Theatre. In 1883, the successful operetta _Falka_ had its London première at The Harold Pinter Theatre, and in 1885, Erminie did the same. The Harold Pinter's reputation grew through World War I when **Charles Blake Cochran** and **André Charlot** presented their famous revue shows. In the mid-1950s West End's Harold Pinter Theatre underwent major reconstruction and re-opened in December 1955, the auditorium remains essentially that of 1881, with three tiers of horseshoe-shaped balconies. The Harold Pinter Theatre was notable for the role it played in overturning stage censorship by establishing the New Watergate Club in 1956, under producer **Anthony Field**. The outdated Theatres Act 1843 still required scripts to be submitted for approval by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Formation of the club allowed plays that had been banned due to language or subject matter to be performed under 'club' conditions. Plays produced in this way at The Harold Pinter included the UK premieres of **Arthur Miller**'s _A View from the Bridge_, **Robert Anderson**'s _Tea and Sympathy_ and **Tennessee Williams**' _Cat On A Hot Tin Roof_. The law was not revoked until 1968, but in the late 1950s there was a loosening of conditions in theatre censorship, the club was dissolved and **Peter Shaffer**'s _Five Finger Exercise_ premiered to a public audience. The Harold Pinter Theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in June 1972. _The Homecoming, No-man's Land, Moonlight, The Hothouse_ and _The Caretaker_ have all been presented at The Harold Pinter in recent years. **Maureen Lipman** has also graced The Harold Pinter stage, starring in **Alan Plater**'s highly acclaimed comedy, _Peggy For You_. But the theatre's two biggest successes were _The Caretaker_ starring **Michael Gambon** in 2000 and an eight-week sell-out run of _Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs_ in 1999, starring **Ewan McGregor** and directed by **Denis Lawson**, which smashed all box office records. More recently, **Francesca Annis** and **Anthony Andrews** have starred in **Ibsen**'s _Ghosts_ and 2004 saw the much-lauded revival of RC Sherriff's _Journey's End_ and a successful run of _The Old Masters_ by **Simon Gray**, starring **Edward Fox** and **Peter Bowles** . This production was directed by **Harold Pinter**, after whom the then Comedy Theatre was, of course, renamed The Harold Pinter Theatre. In January 2005, _Sex and the City_ star **Kim Cattrall** starred in **Peter Hall**'s London production of _Whose Life Is It Anyway?_ by **Brian Clark**, followed by **Tom Courtenay** in **Brian Friel**'s _The Home Place_ and **Joseph Fiennes** and **Francesca Annis** in _Epitaph for George Dillon_ by **John Osborne** and **Anthony Creighton**. **The Harold Pinter Theatre London** has also played host to _Steptoe and Son_, Michael Frayn's _Donkey's Years_, _The Rocky Horror Show_, and the hilarious high-flying comedy, Boeing-Boeing. As of 8th of September 2011, The Comedy Theatre was renamed as The Harold Pinter Theatre and famously put on a marathon season of Pinter shows from 2018-19 dubbed the Pinter at the Pinter season.