Croydon Community Theatre

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Croydon Community Theatre

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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.


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