Midland Arts Centre and Highbury Theatre founder; OBITUARY.
Mr John English, who was awarded an OBE for services to the theatre, has died at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield. In recent years he had suffered from poor health.
A committed and enthusiastic patron of the arts, Mr English was responsible for establishing a series of innovative theatres which are still going strong.
Between 1937 and 1942, with the help of volunteers, Mr English built and established Highbury Theatre and Community Arts Centre which has since had a continuous programme of arts activities.
Mr English was director of the theatre for the first 21 years and also supervised its re-building in the last ten years. In 1948, he founded the Arena Theatre Company which experimented in new forms of theatre, new methods of presentation, and, in associ ation with the Arts Council, took the performing arts to areas without a theatre.
Mr English, a Birmingham University graduate, was also a trustee and founder of the Midlands Arts Centre, in Cannon Hill Park, where he was responsible for fund-raising as well as day-to-day direction and management.
Mr English, who leaves a wife Molly, was awarded the OBE in 1968 for service to the theatre and during his career he also received a Birmingham Civic Society Gold Medal in 1981 for outstanding service to the community.
A service of thanksgiving was held yesterday at the Baptist Church in Chester Road, Sutton Coldfield.
Donations have been requested in lieu of flowers to either the Highbury Little Theatre or Midland Arts Centre.