The Theatres Trust


  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1971: Theatre, 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. The theatre has three auditoria – The HOUSE, which seats 824, The STUDIO seating 300 and The DOOR, 140. The HOUSE, original containing three banks of raked seats, now comprises a single continental-style sweep, curving round the huge 50ft stage. The stage has 56 single and double purchase counterweight sets. It is a producing theatre with its own set construction and props workshop, scenic paintshop, wardrobe and wig making departments. It also has two rehearsal rooms and ample dressing rooms. From 2011 to 2013, the theatre underwent redevelopment as part of the city’s new Library of Birmingham. This redevelopment enabled the revitalisation of the theatre by Dutch architects Mecanoo, who also designed the adjoining library. It included the creation of a new 300-seat auditorium, The STUDIO, and extended public foyer, both of which connect the theatre to the Library of Birmingham. Other work included the cleaning and restoration of The REP’s iconic facade, remodelled bars, restaurant and foyers making it a space people can enjoy throughout the day and a new backstage and administration block which provides modern useable and accessible space for the theatre.

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Exterior of The Rep, Birmingham, 2015
© John James

Exterior of The Rep, Birmingham, 2015
© John James

Main auditorium of The Rep, Birmingham, 2015
© Theatres Trust

Auditorium of The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Auditorium of The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

Stage at The Rep, Birmingham, 2001
© Ian Grundy

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  • Other names
    Birmingham Repertory Theatre
  • Events
    • 1971 Use: Theatre, 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
      • Mecanoo - Architect
  • Capacities
    • Original: Main House 898; Studio 140
    • Current: 824; The House
    • Current: 140; The Door
    • Current: 300; The Studio
  • 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

Façade of the Congress Theatre, Cwmbran, 1995
Congress (Cwmbran)

Have you seen?

Proscenium arch detail, Tyne Theatre & Opera House, 2000
Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Newcastle upon Tyne

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