The Theatres Trust


  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1971: continuing
  • Current state
  • Current use
    Theatre (repertory theatre)
  • Address
    Broad Street, Centenary Square, Birmingham, West Midlands, B1 2EP, England
  • Website


The current Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP), opened in 1971. It was a new build for Barry Jackson's Repertory Company, providing 'a stage of epic proportions and a democratic auditorium with no balconies, pillars or boxes'. Barry Jackson had founded amateur group, the Pilgrim Players, in 1907. In 1913 they moved into a beautiful new theatre on Station Street (now The Old Rep). The company became one of the most famous in the country, producing many significant actors who went on to become leading lights in the life of the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. The theatre, too, become world famous, but at only 464 seats, by the mid 1960s a replacement was being discussed. The 1971 building is an imposing glass and concrete structure, with a bowed facade opening onto Centenary Square, and large concrete fly tower visible above. To the right of this is the glass facade of the 1992 extension, housing conference facilities, rehearsal room and workshops. Apart from the 1992 extension, the theatre has undergone other changes since 1971. One of the most significant being a development of the front of house spaces, opening the cafe to the square and drawing the community in to the theatre. The main auditorium, too, has been changed from its original three banks of raked seats to a single continental-style sweep, curving round the huge 50ft stage. The stage has 56 single and double purchase counterweight sets, and backstage has ample dressing rooms and workshop facilities. Behind the stage right wall is the studio theatre - The Door. Originally created as a rehearsal room, the 140 seat studio has developed a reputation for putting on innovative and inspirational new works. Since the 1990s, the area around The REP has developed into an exciting and vibrant part of the City, with Symphony Hall, ICC and BrindleyPlace adjacent. In the 2010s The REP is part of the next major development of the area - with the new Library of Birmingham in construction next door. The REP will be joined to the Library, at ground and first floor levels, and this development will provide a brand new third auditorium, seating 300. The REP will reopen in September 2013, in time to celebrate Birmingham Repertory Company's centenary.

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Auditorium of The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Auditorium of The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Stage at The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Façade of The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Exterior of The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Façade of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 1995
© Ian Grundy

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  • Other names
    Birmingham Repertory Theatre
  • Events
    • 1971 Use: continuing
    • 1971 Design/Construction: New theatre on new site, replacing Old Rep on Station Street.
      • S T Walker & Partners (Graham Winteringham) - Architect
      • Bryant - Contractor
    • 1971 Owner/Management: Birmingham City Council, proprietors; Birmingham Repertory Theatre Co, lessees
    • 1992 Alteration: New building added to stage left comprising banqueting and conference suite at front with large workshop, rehearsal room, paint room, wardrobe behind.
      • S T Walker - Architect
      • Linford Builders Ltd (Cannock) - Contractor
    • 2011 - 2013 Alteration: redevelopment as part of building of new Library of Birmingham adjacent - to be completed September 2013
  • Capacities
    • Original: Main House 898; Studio 140
    • Current: 825; The Mainhouse
    • Current: 140; The Door
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • Proscenium: Flat
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: Depth: 15m (29ft 4in) Width USL: 13m 42ft 6in DSL: 17m 46ft 6in USR: 12.2m (40ft) DSR: 15m (29ft 4in)
    • Proscenium width: 15m x 8m high (49ft 4in x 26ft 2in)
    • Height to grid: 23m (75ft 5in)
    • Orchestra pit: Original: 15

Of the period

Auditorium of the Beck Theatre
Beck Theatre

Have you seen?

Levers for operating the hydraulic bridges at Drury Lane, 2006
Theatre Royal Drury Lane

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