in repertoire

05Oct12

I’m in the Production wing of Birmingham Rep’s temporary HQ in the Jewellery Qtr., waiting for a wardrobe fitting session, when I notice an old poster on the wall. Actually it comes as no surprise to me, because I’ve been willing this thing to appear  – so determined was I to find some evidence of it.

Though no year is mentioned on it I know it to be either ’71 or ’72. Head of Costume Sue confirms it as the latter, as Ronnie Barker was performing the Christmas show for the new building’s opening season in 1971. For me it’s relevant because the Christmas show of this particular season, Treasure Island, was my first recalled visit to a theatre performance. Such was the occasion that I vividly remember us finding our seats and the curtains opening, I remember the sensation of holding the interval ice cream tub and I remember the strangeness of the fake parrot. I was taken that day by my grandad, Bill Gordon, and (somewhere or other) I still possess the Young Rep member card that I acquired on that day.

Interesting to note that 40 years ago local-boy David Edgar was on the Studio Theatre billing, presenting (the never published) Death Story – a Romeo & Juliet transplanted to a sectarian society – resonant with the contemporaneous ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, perhaps.

Ticket prices that year ranged from 40 new pence to a hefty £1.20 for the best seats.

With himself a long-line of family connections to The Rep, David Edgar is helping to front a current archiving project, REP100 which celebrates a century of theatre-making at The Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre. You can visit the dedicated website at www.rep100.org

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