From the original production of Rocky Horror Picture Show to the more recent A Little Life starring James Norton, the Harold Pinter theatre has seen some ground-breaking performances in its time.

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Known for hosting some of the West End’s most dramatic plays and sharpest comedies, this London theatre is the place to be if you’re looking for a new show to sink your teeth into.

In the past few years, the Harold Pinter has seen some of the biggest names in theatre pass under its roof, what with Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James and Ian McKellen all taking on starring roles at one time or another. But what’s on there at the moment? And how do you know it’s any good?

Well that’s what we’re here to answer. To help you decide whether the Harold Pinter is worth a visit, we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know about the theatre. From what’s currently showing and coming up later this year, to easy instructions on how to get there and where best to sit.

Plus, we’ve got all the information on accessibility and ticket cost to help you decide how you should spend that hard-earned cash.

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So, drumroll please… introducing our guide to the West End’s Harold Pinter theatre.

Buy Hills of California tickets at Harold Pinter Theatre

For more theatre news and reviews, here's the cast for the Les Misérables world tour, how to get Macbeth tickets and our review for Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution. Plus, best London Theatre Week deals.

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Where is the Harold Pinter Theatre?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: A general view of signage for the West End Play "A Little Life" starring James Norton at the Harold Pinter Theatre on March 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Klara Simonova/Getty Images)
Harold Pinter Theatre. Klára Šimonová / Getty

The Harold Pinter can be found right in the heart of London’s West End on Panton Street. It sits just off of Haymarket and less than a five minute walk from Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

If you’re looking for nearby attractions, you can’t go wrong with a walk around the iconic Trafalgar Square featuring Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery, or you can always take a stroll through Chinatown or Covent Garden where you’re guaranteed great food and entertainment.

For more London activities, check out the best London date ideas and best London walking tours.

What is the closest tube to the Harold Pinter Theatre?

The closest tube to the theatre is Piccadilly Circus, which you can get to via the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines. You can also walk from Leicester Square (Piccadilly and Northern line) and Embankment (Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District line), or, if you’re coming from outside of London, Charing Cross (Southeastern Rail).

What was the Harold Pinter Theatre called before?

West End aficionados may remember that the Harold Pinter used to be known as the Royal Comedy Theatre.

First opening in 1881, the venue hosted a huge number of successful shows, including the London debut of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1973.

The theatre changed its name in 2011 in honour of British playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter, who staged several shows there.

Harold Pinter Theatre seating plan: Where’s the best place to sit?

The Harold Pinter Theatre has a capacity of 799 seats spread across four levels: the Stalls, Dress Circle, Royal Circle and the Balcony.

Like with most theatres, the best views come from the Stalls as you’re sat closer to the action. However, thanks to the height of the stage, you’re probably better off sitting in the centre of the Stalls rather than right at the front, otherwise you might find yourself having to look up most of the time.

The front few rows of the Dress Circle also affords a good view, but keep in mind that there might be slight obstruction from handrails.

If you’re looking to spend less, the best value seating is on the Balcony or at the back of the Royal Circle – you shouldn’t feel too far away as the theatre is relatively small, but you may have to deal with pillars in your eyeline.

We know that there’s nothing worse than forking out hundreds of pounds on theatre tickets only to have a pole or piece of set restrict your view of the stage, or to feel like you’re miles away. So, we’d recommend using the view preview on ATG Tickets when you’re buying seats – simply click on the seat you want to purchase and scroll up to see a preview of what your view will look like – or you can get reviews and images from real customers on SeatPlan.

In terms of accessibility, the theatre has bars on every level and two wheelchair positions in the dress circle in rows E/F. If you wish to transfer to a theatre seat, there are eight to 10 steps down in the dress circle from rows A-F.

There is also an accessible toilet in the theatre foyer and all chairs have arm rests.

What’s on at the Harold Pinter Theatre?

There’s been more than a few memorable moments at the Harold Pinter in recent years, most notably James Norton’s acclaimed performance in the limited run of A Little Life. Plus, Jenna Coleman and Aidan Turner’s much talked about run in Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, and Mark Rylance’s return to the stage in Dr Semmelweis.

Here’s what you can catch at the Harold Pinter at the moment:

The Hills of California

The Hills of California - a co-production between Neal Street Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions at Harold Pinter Theatre.
The Hills of California. Mark Douet

Playwright Jez Butterworth and director Sam Mendes have reunited after their work on Olivier award-winning show The Ferryman to bring us The Hills of California. Set in Blackpool 1976, the play follows the Webb sisters, who reunite in their mother’s run-down guesthouse as she lies dying upstairs. As the time wears on and the past is mulled over, lost hopes, missed opportunities and dark secrets are brought to light – to find out more, read our Hills of California review.

Starring Laura Donnelly, who you may recognise from Marvel’s Werewolf by Night, Outlander and the BBC’s Merlin, The Hills of California will run at the Harold Pinter from 27th January – 15th June 2024. The shows will take place every Monday to Saturday, with matinee performances twice a week. There will also be a captioned performance on 23rd April, an audio described performance on 11th May and a signed performance on 16th May.

Buy Hills of California tickets at Harold Pinter Theatre

How much do tickets cost?

Tickets range between £15 – £39.50 for seats in the Balcony, £39.50 – £77 for the Royal Circle and £55 – £125 for the Dress Circle. Then, for the Stalls, tickets cost £55 – £155.

What’s coming up at the Harold Pinter Theatre?

We don’t yet know what’s showing after The Hills of California, but we’ll be sure to update you when we do.

If you want to check out some of the other plays and musicals going on in London at the moment, take a look at the best West End shows or some of our other theatre guides:

Plus, if you want to give the gift of choice to the theatre fan you know, you can always pick up a theatre voucher from ATG, London Theatre Direct, or LOVETheatre.

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For more theatre tickets, here's how to get Fawlty Towers tickets and how to see Here and Now the Steps Musical.

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