Book released about historic Sandwell theatre

By James Vukmirovic | Sandwell | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

A book about an historic Sandwell theatre is set to be released.

The book will tell the tale of the historic Barlow theatre and Oldbury Rep

The chairman and archivist of Oldbury Repertory Theatre Christopher Smith has worked during the coronavirus lockdown to document the history of the company for its 80th anniversary.

"A History of Oldbury Rep 1939-2020" tells the story of how a small group of people gathered together during the second world war to create live theatre in Oldbury.

The book details Christopher's parents Phil and Gwen, who helped found the company, the struggle to find a permanent home, a fire in 1972 and the reconstruction and development of Sandwell's only purpose-built theatre, the Barlow theatre.

The theatre now has its own bar and fully equipped rehearsal facilities, together with an 173-seat auditorium with state of the art lighting and sound.

The book also has more than 200 photos from the past 80 years and a foreword by actress Josie Lawrence, patron and past member, who spoke of the importance of local theatre.

She said: "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, with all profits going to Oldbury Rep.

To find out more about the theatre, go to

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at

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