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Contents of the Sir Barry Jackson and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Archive

Photograph by Lisel Haas, featuring Derek Jacobi.

The Archive falls into the following sections:

Production material

We have photographs of a variety of sizes taken from performances and rehearsals. The archive features work by key theatrical photographers, notably Lisel Haas,Henry Southwell-Eades and Willoughby Gullachsen.

The collection of posters illustrate the productions that have taken place, including those of several visiting companies.

Press cuttings of reviews

We have a collection of newscuttings taken mainly from the local press of critical reviews of productions. These are organised in date order.

Sorrows of Frederick - Programme cover from February 1970

We have an almost complete set of programmes for the Repertory Theatre. Most of the early ones provide simple cast-lists whilst the later examples give a synopsis of the play and biographies of the principal players.

Prompt books

The collection of prompt books or "working scripts" provide a insight into the direction and production of a particular play. Often the notes are handwritten.


The scripts reveal how a play has been adapted for production.

Sound effect recordings

These are recordings from Birmingham and London made on 78rpm records. They include fanfares, drum marches, falling debris sound effects and explosions used in rehearsals and productions. Many are in their original sleeves.
Due to their poor condition they have been conserved and are not available for consultation.

Christmas Party - Written by Jackson, performed in 1922

Non-production material

Books on Birmingham Repertory Theatre history
We have a selection of books that describe the evolution of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and provide a profile of Sir Barry Jackson and his relationship with the theatre, the writers and directors and the performers.


Within the Sir Barry Jackson Archive there are several photograph albums belonging to Sir Barry himself, of his trips abroad, his family and from the Malvern Festival.
We also have an extensive selection of publicity shots of actors and actresses who have appeared at the Repertory Theatre.


We have hand-drawn plans of the stages from Station Street and Broad Street. The collection also includes detailed plans of the theatre building at Broad Street. There are also some examples of plans for set designs.

Isabel Thornton

The collection of play-sets covers a wide variety of plays. This part of the collection is not yet catalogued.

Sir Barry Jackson Library

The Sir Barry Jackson library is a collection of books that belonged to the man himself. It largely contains plays, English and European. There is also a selection of dramatic criticism and books on theatre history. The work of George Bernard Shaw,Shakespeare and John Drinkwater are well represented. This material is indexed by author only.

Photograph by Willoughby Gullachsen


H.K Ayliff
Ayliff was director of most productions of the Repertory Company from the 1920s to the 1940s, in Birmingham and in London. Most notably, he directed the most famous modern dress Hamlet in 1925. The collection consists of photographs from productions, programmes and prompt books.

Edgar family
The Edgar family have a long history of working with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, beginning with Isabel Thornton who was a member of the founding company of the theatre in Station Street, and continues with her grandson, the playwright, David Edgar. This collection is photographs from their family albums.

Willoughby Gullachsen
Willoughby Gullachsen was the theatre's official photographer for 16 years at both the Old and New theatres (1968 - Nov 1984). The collection is a complete set of negatives and prints of the production photographs taken during this period.

Sir Barry Jackson and G.B Shaw

Joan Heath
Joan Heath was an actress and performed many times at the Rep in the 1930s. This collection is made up of her personal photographs and newscuttings chronicling that period in the theatre's history. This material is not catalogued.

Sir Barry Jackson personal documents
Correspondence, including letters between Sir Barry and George Bernard Shaw, published as Bernard Shaw and Barry Jackson, edited by L.W Conolly, 2002.
Also included are lectures, broadcasts, publications, diaries and other personal papers.
These items are housed in Birmingham City Archives. This material is not catalogued.

Malvern Festival
The Malvern Festival took place every summer from 1929-1937, initially to celebrate new work by George Bernard Shaw. The collection includes programmes, photographs and newscuttings covering the festival. This material is not catalogued.

The company at Malvern, 1929

Plays administrative documents
Licences for performance, agreements for production and press releases relating to the Old Repertory Theatre in Station Street. This material is held in Birmingham City Archives.

Repertory Theatre administrative documents
Minutes, memorandum and articles of association, plans, administrative correspondence, financial records, publications and publicity reports relating to the Old Repertory Theatre. This material is held in Birmingham City Archives

Mary Richards
Mary Richards ran the School of Acting at the Repertory Theatre from 1943. Small collection of play-texts and correspondence.

Henry Southwell-Eades
Henry Southwell-Eades was the photographer for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre during the 1960s. Following his death in 1996, the negatives of around 200 photographs from 1964-1968, were kindly given by his family to Birmingham Libraries.

The archive is housed in the Library of Birmingham in Archives, Heritage and Photography

The images that appear on this page are reproduced with permission from the Sir Barry Jackson Trust. Photographs by Lisel Haas appear with permission from the Theatre Museum.

Sir Barry Jackson and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Archive 1913 - 1970
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre Archive 1971 - present
Birmingham Repertory Theatre Photograph Gallery
Sir Barry Jackson
Willoughby Gullachsen Photographic Collection
Photographic and other Special Collections in Central Library
Old Rep Theatre
Sir Laurence Olivier (1907 - 1989)