The Playhouse

The Playhouse

Durban’s Playhouse complex links the city’s present with its past. The current theatre facade preserves two of the city’s most famous landmarks, situated adjacent to each other in central Smith Street opposite the City Hall, first conceived as cinemas, namely the glamorous Prince’s Theatre, which originated in 1926, and the grand, Tudor-styled Playhouse, which originally opened its doors to public fanfares and capacity house in 1935.


In the early 1980s, these two celebrated entertainment venues underwent expert renovation and conversion into a state-of-the-art, multi-venue theatre complex that faithfully preserved many of the buildings’ original characteristics and archetectural features. This was officially opened in the mid ’80s as The Natal Playhouse, subsequently to become known by its present-day title The Playhouse, Kwazulu-Natal’s premier theatre complex and home of The Playhouse Company.

The Playhouse Company is eThekwini’s premier theatre organisation, based at the Playhouse theatre complex in Anton Lembende Street (formerly Smith Street) in the heart of the coastal city of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. As a cultural institution The Playhouse Company receives public funding from the South African National Government and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government.

The Playhouse Company is mandated to produce an equitable programme of live theatre productions in the fields of music, drama and dance, representative of the diverse cultural groups that comprise the population of KwaZulu-Natal, both in terms of audiences and artists based in the Province. In addition, the company holds the responsibility of devising and managing a dynamic education and development programme in the performing arts with respect to growing youth audiences as well as nurturing community based artists, groups and organizations that are in need of back-up from the company’s marketing expertise and technical resources. The Playhouse Company also has the responsibility of managing the Playhouse complex’s various performance and public venues that are for hire when not in use for the Company’s own productions, or those presented in association with The Playhouse Company. The Playhouse Company aims to produce live theatre in all its forms of an international standard commensurate with its stature as one of South Africa’s leading performing arts bodies.

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The Company maintains its own arts administrative and marketing wing as well as a staff complement that runs its financial administrative function. It also runs a fully-fledged wardrobe department (including a hire wardrobe wing) and a production branch that makes and hires out stage décor and props. While the Company no longer sustains its own in-house arts companies of dancers, actors or musicians, it is mandated to commission the services of practitioners in these fields from the private sector, for main-stage and education projects that it mounts each year – both at the Playhouse complex itself, and with specially devised productions that tour to rural communities throughout the province.



What was once ‘Durban’s most luxurious cinema’ was transformed into a state-of-the-art venue second to none for live performances of excellence.

  • Seats 464
  • Top class sound and lighting
  • Can be converted into a ‘theatre in the round’
  • Ideal for mid-sized productions, conferences, presentations, product launches, etc
  • Orchestra pit for up to 25 musicians


This versatile performance space is ideally designed and equipped for intimate theatre and stage works of an experimental nature.

• Seats 136
• Informal venue with variable stage and seating arrangements with a multitude of uses.

For booking information contact or call  +27 (031) 369 9461


The historic Playhouse Opera theatre with its ornate Elizabethan décor and atmospheric ‘starry sky’, is one of South Africa’s most famous performance venues. Host to generations of stage legends, this is truly KZN’s ‘grand old lady’ of showbiz.

• Seats 1 224
• Top class sound and lighting
• Majestic theatre ideal for large-scale performances, conferences, presentations, product launches, etc.
• Adaptable orchestra pit three configurations, accommodating up to 85 musicians.

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The Playhouse Company not only produces its own productions, but hires out its venues for anything from a large-scale concert in the magnificent 1 200-seater Opera Theatre, to smaller productions in the 460-seater Drama Theatre and 136-seater Loft Theatre.

The Playhouse also has various function rooms for hire such as the Grand Foyer, the Alhambra Room, the VIP room and various rehearsal venues both in the Playhouse complex itself, as well as at The Playhouse Company’s Mayville premises.

And all of this at reasonable rates! To enquire about hiring a venue for theatrical productions, weddings, launches, promotions and so much more, call Mlu Zondi on (031) 369 9461 or e-mail him on


This fully fitted mobile stage is designed to present a variety of performances at schools, road shows and communities throughout KwaZulu-Natal. It can be used to stage music, dance and drama, and is popular with corporate hirers for promotional and marketing activities.

  • The mobile stage trailer is 13m long with a two-metre horse. One side opens up into a stage that is 10m x 4m in size.
  • The opened stage is supported with trestles, requiring the truck to be parked on level ground.
  • The opened stage is 2m from ground level.
  • The mobile stage trailer also features a 2.4m x 3.6m dressing room.

To avoid disappointment, book your event on the Truck four to six weeks in advance.

Call the Playhouse Truck Coordinator on 031 3699440/ 031 3699555


Visit the Playhouse Company’s Production Department at 78 Ramsay Av, Mayville, Durban, for an extensive array of theatrical costumes, stage props and décor that can be hired.

Competitive rates apply, fully refundable deposits are redeemed on costumes returned in good condition.
Call 031 208 4161


Rehearsal space is available at affordable rates, please contact 031 369 9461

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Tours are hosted to enable locals, school children and tourists to discover more about this popular Durban landmark and what goes on inside it!

To book one of the exciting tours contact The Playhouse Box Office on (031) 369 9540 or 369 9596. Contact Trevor Draai on 369 9527 for a tour of the Playhouse.


National Treasury Circular No. 3 of 2015/2016

In terms of National Treasury Circular No. 3 of 2015/2016, National Treasury has established a single platform, the Central Supplier Database (CSD), for the registration of prospective suppliers.

With effect from 01 April 2016, accounting officers and accounting authorities may not award any bid to a supplier not registered as a prospective supplier on the Central Supplier Database (CSD).

During the transitional period until 31 March 2016 The Playhouse Company will commence with the migration of its current supplier database.

Prospective suppliers who wish to be included in the current supplier database of The Playhouse Company, or prospective suppliers who wish to be assisted with registration on the CSD, are required to register with The Playhouse Company prior to 29 February 2016 to ensure that they will be eligible to do business with Government Departments and State Owned Entities (SOE’S). Alternatively prospective suppliers may also self-register on the CSD through National Treasury.

  • Central Supplier Database Circular No 3 of 2015
  • Letter to Suppliers
  • Supplier Leaflet

Contact of The Playhouse

Contact us

Postal Address:PO Box 5353, Durban, 4000, KZN South Africa
Tel: +27 31 369 9555
Fax: +27 31 306 2166

Other contact telephone numbers:
Box Office: (031) 369 9596/9540
Playhouse Central Switchboard: (031) 369 9555
Front of House Manager: (031) 369 9527
Recording Studio: (031) 369 9520
Theatre Venue Hire: (031) 369 9461
Props, Décor and Costume Hire: (031) 208 4171
Arts, Education and Dev. Department: (031) 369 9464/9463
Marketing and Information: (031) 369 9456
Computicket: 083 915 8000