The Playhouse- UK

The Playhouse is based in Artillery Street, Derry and was established by Pauline Ross in 1992 with a grant of just £300. Since then it has grown to become one of Ireland’s leading Award Winning multi-disciplinary Community Art Resource Centres based on a neutral site within the city centre. It is a self-help, grass roots, bottom-up community development project which is people centre with charitable status.

The Playhouse comprises of a 175 Seat Theatre, an extensive Education and Outreach Department, Theatre and peacebuilding academy, a dance Studio, a gallery and is home to several cultural/art based groups and tenants. The Playhouse fills a large gap in the provision of the arts in the North West.  It also is one of only a handful of venues commissioning, producing and touring theatre in the island of Ireland.

The Playhouse’s Vision is to create community, celebrate diversity and empower people through the arts; to deliver creative, innovative and accessible Arts, Education and Peacebuilding Programmes that enrich the lives of the people that we serve. We have four core values: community, creativity, quality and sustainability. 

Our core programming is:

• Education and Outreach Department: Each year we enable hundreds of people to achieve Open College Network qualifications in the arts and, we deliver hundreds of classes in drama, visual, arts, dance and music to thousands of people of all ages and abilities. We use arts activity to promote social and educational inclusion, and our work improves confidence, esteem, essential skills, motivation and creativity. Our training is ideal for those who have not succeeded through other forms of education, and many trainees have received their first ever qualifications through our programmes.


• Community Relations Department:  We have a 21 year track record of using arts activity to promote healing, understanding, reconciliation and transformation. We use the arts to deepen understanding of complex issues and highlight ways for positive change. Theatre, for example, provides powerful tools for replaying and deconstructing events and attitudes, promoting understanding and empathy, and resolving conflict.

• Theatre: Each year we host approximately 150 nights of theatre, opera, music & comedy to audiences of over 15,000 people. Shows range from internationally renowned to a group of local children’s first steps on stage.

• Producing Theatre: We commission, produce and tour theatre that resonates with a wide range of audiences. Our work has been seen in N. Ireland, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Netherlands, Belgium and USA to critical acclaim.


Almost everything we do is delivered through partnerships, and we work with many communities throughout Northern Ireland, including health centres, police, community groups, art groups, training agencies, women’s groups, children’s / youth groups & housing associations, justice agencies and more… Thousands of people benefit each year of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.