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Making History (Your News)

Making History (Your News)

Although Oldbury Repertory Theatre has been closed since March, in keeping with Government guidelines during the pandemic crisis, its chairman (and archivist) has been busy compiling the company’s history for its 80th anniversary, A History of Oldbury Rep 1939-2020 which, has recently been published.

Christopher Smith has a passion for Oldbury Rep and it’s very much a family affair. His parents Phil and Gwen were founder members of the company and it was always a high profile within his family. His aunts, uncles and cousins were also involved in some way, not only on the stage but behind the scenes and front of house. It continues today with his wife, daughter and sister, all active members of ORP.

The book tells the story of Oldbury Rep from 1939 and how a small group of people gathered together during the dark days of the start of WWII to create live theatre for the people of Oldbury. Their struggle to find a permanent home and the building of the Barlow Playhouse, a devastating fire in 1972 and the reconstruction & development of Sandwell’s only purpose-built theatre.

The book is packed with over 200 photos of its plays and the people involved with company over eighty years, and a forward written by actress Josie Lawrence, the theatre’s patron and past member.
As she comments: “Theatre that is local and made for the community in which it exists is of vital importance. Everyone who works at this marvellous venue does so for the absolute love of it. That love, loyalty and talent has been providing audiences with plays of the highest calibre for many years and long may it continue.”

A History of Oldbury Rep 1939-2020 by Christopher Smith can be purchased from Amazon at £12.99 and copies will be available from the theatre, once it resumes productions, with all profits going to Oldbury Rep.