Like the name suggests, the Playhouse, the smallest performance venue in the Sydney Opera House, hosts performances geared for a younger audience. The theatre also hosts a wide variety of experimental and dance-based theatrical experiences. Conceived to function as the recital house for the chamber orchestra, the venue was later converted to a relaxed performance space. The Playhouse features a contemporary design with seats and walls that are clad in white birch timber. The stage is painted black and the theatre is carpeted in grey wool while the seats are upholstered in dark purple wool.
The Playhouse is the smallest of the four theatres inside the Sydney Opera House and features an end-stage with no wing space. Located on the ground floor in the south-western corner of the Opera House, the Playhouse's structure resembles that of the Drama Theatre. Given the limited seats available, the Playhouse offers an intimate theatre viewing experience and excellent view from every seat. The structure of the theatre makes it perfect for single-set productions, such as recitals, drama and small musicals. The Playhouse is also equipped to host seminars and films. If you're planning on watching a show at the venue, our Sydney Opera House Playhouse seating plan guide has tons of useful information you can make use of to make your experience special.
Navigating the Theatre
With a seating capacity of 398, the Playhouse is officially the smallest theatre in the Opera House. There are no levels or sections in this theatre, with all the seats placed in the stalls section. The Playhouse resembles the auditorium of a fancy prep school with great sightlines and comfortable, plush seating. The theatre can be entered via 2 doors leading from the Western Foyer. The seats in the Playhouse are spread across one massive block without any aisle to separate them. There are 17 rows in total, labelled from B to T (there's no row A in the Playhouse). Seats are numbered in the range of 1 to 27, moving from right to left. Each row has a different number of seats and there's a very minor bend in the first six rows of the theatre.
Which Seats Offer the Best View
In a small theatre like the Playhouse, there's no designated seat that can be labelled the 'best’. All the seats offer an excellent view of the stage and the sightlines are equally clean. The only thing that differs is the distance of each row from the stage. If you're visiting the theatre with small kids, we would recommend opting for the central seats in the middle rows of H to L. These seats are at a reasonable height and offer a great view of the stage. The best part is that kids won't have to crane their necks to look at the stage.
Which Seats Offer the Best Value for Money
Unlike bigger theatres where the price changes with each row and considerably so, the Playhouse doesn't follow the same layout. The prices doesn't change all that much from one row to the other. And since all the rows offer a similarly great view of the stage, the cheapest seats in the house also become the best value for money. In this case, the last couple of rows (R to T), can be considered value for money since they don't cost as much as the front row seats and offer a great look at the stage.
Accessibility: All the seats in the Playhouse auditorium are wheelchair accessible.
Wheelchair: The Playhouse auditorium also has space for four wheelchair accessible seats located on each side of the auditorium.
Restroom: There are two wheelchair accessible toilets on the lower ground level of the Opera House. One is located near the Opera Kitchen and the second at the bottom of the escalators connecting to East Circular Quay. On the western theatre foyer, there are two accessible toilets available. The first one is next to the Playhouse and the second between the Studio and Drama Theatre.
Assisted Listening Systems: To enable all patrons to enjoy the show at the Sydney Opera House, there are two services available. The first is an FM Augmentation System, which can be accessed from the cloakroom. The second is a hearing loop which enhances the quality and frequency of sound inside the theatre. This too can be obtained from the cloakroom. Both these devices are free of cost.
Bars: There are bars available at the Joan Sutherland Theatre and the Concert Hall, which open 90 minutes before the start of a show and during intervals. The Western Foyer Theatre, which houses the Drama Theatre and Playhouse, also has bars that are available pre-theatre.