Collection AR473 - Croydon Community Theatre Records, 1932-1936

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Croydon Community Theatre Records, 1932-1936


  • 1932-1936 (Creation)

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1 box

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Administrative history

The Croydon Repertory Theatre was a professional repertory theatre company situated at 23 Wellesley Road (just south of the junction with Poplar Walk) and was administered by Croydon Community Theatres Limited. The Managing Director throughout its life was J.Baxter Sommerville. It grew out of the Greyhound Theatre Players which performed at The Greyhound before the premises on Wellesley Road, with a capacity of 390, was obtained. The opening ceremony on September 13 1932 was performed by actor, poet and playwright John Drinkwater (1882 - 1937) who had been heavily involved in setting up Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Between 1932 and 1940 the Rep staged a different play most weeks with a period over the summer when the theatre was dark although it appears to have been regularly used by visiting companies at these times. The outbreak of WWII meant that it never reopened after the 1939/40 season and the building was subsequently badly damaged by enemy bombs while being used for furniture storage. It was described by one local historian* in 1949 as a small, convenient theatre....very popular and had a satisfactory record, producing really good plays with young players, many of whom are now famous. Among the subsequently famous actors to appear at Croydon Rep were John Le Mesurier, Denis Price, Richard Wattis, Leonard Sachs and Joan Hickson.

Archival history

On loan from the Whitgift Foundation. Earlier provenance unknown.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Accession Number: 473

Croydon Community Theatre Records, 1932-1936

Minutes etc. 1932-1936.

Item date: 1932-1936

Accession date: 31/10/1983

Custodial history: Whitgift Foundation. Earlier provenance unknown.

Acquisition terms: Power to transfer elsewhere is given.

Power to destroy ephemeral material is not given.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Minutes and share certificates of the Croydon Community Theatre Company which administered the Croydon Repertory Theatre.

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Some of the records in our collections contain sensitive and personal data that we have a legal responsibility to control access to. In these circumstances, staff may search the collection on your behalf, having received consent or proof of death of the individual concerned.

Please contact us at for further information regarding the particular collection you wish to access.

You can make a request for information which may be in a closed record under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations, 2004. For more information about making a request, see the Croydon Council website ( Making a request does not guarantee access to the information you ask for, as there may be a valid exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

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  • English

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Related units of description

Croydon Local Studies Library holds a substantial amount of material relating to Croydon Repertory Theatre at ref. S70 (792) CRO

An unpublished paper, John Garrett and the Croydon Repertory Theatre 1930-1935 by Barry Atwood is based on extensive research of these records and gives a substantial amount of detail of their contents. This covers the period up to Summer 1935 when John Garrett (senior English master at Whitgift School) left to become headteacher at Raynes Park County School.

The Local Studies Library holds a signature book with separate items including a pen and ink and water colour drawings of the theatre. It also holds copies of Rep, the Croydon Repertory Theatre Magazine (8 issues, November 1933-December 1934), playbills, photographs, cuttings, other ephemera and programmes; among the latter can be found the names of many of the then relatively unknown actors mentioned above.

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