- 1959 - 1961 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The Hill Barn Open Air Theatre was in operation at Hill Barn, 101, Purley Downs Road, Purley. It put on 2 productions, one in 1960 and the second in 1961 before the property was sold to developers and the site forms part of the Maywater Close Development.
Donated by Mr Richard Tomes, son of Gilbert Tomes, in November 2010.
In the summer of 1959, it was suggested to Mr Gilbert Tomes that the large garden of his home at 101 Purley Downs Road would make an ideal open air theatre. Work proceeded over the course of the following year and the inaugural performance took place in July 1960 with another performance in June 1961.
The Tomes family sold the property later in 1961. The house has since been demolished and the site forms part of the Maywater Close development.
The history of the theatre is recorded on pp.172 - 178 and 187 - 8 of Gilbert Tomes memoirs Jumbos Diaries (2000) held by the Local Studies Library at S70 (92) TOM.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Box of photographs (including aerial photo), plans and cuttings relating to Hill Barn Open Air Theatre, 101 Purley Downs Road and two performances there by the Polesden Lacey Players: Twelfth Night (29- 30 July 1960) and Merchant of Venice (1-3 June 1961) both directed by Elsie Green and in aid of local causes. Some of the photographs are evidently prints from cinefilm.
Also included is a framed drawing of the theatre, 1960.
Also included are a series of photographs of a party, possibly celebrating the end of a production, in the living room of 101 Purley Downs Road.
Also included is a box of stone age implements found in the garden of 101 Purley Downs Road during the course of construction of the theatre. A note of explanation is included. (Note: these artefacts will be offered to the Museum of Croydon).