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Culture: Taking the Old out of The Rep.

Birmingham City Council plans to re-launch the Old Rep Theatre as the Young Rep, a venue dedicated to professional theatre for young people.

The Grade II-listed theatre in Station Street, built by Sir Barry Jackson and opened in 1913, holds a special place in the history of the repertory theatre movement, and launched the careers of many famous actors including Laurence Olivier, Jessica Tandy, Albert Finney, Julie Christie and Derek Jacobi.

Since the Birmingham Rep moved to its new building in Broad Street in 1971 the theatre has been mainly used for amateur productions. The Birmingham Stages Company was set up in the 1990s to bring professional productions back to Station Street, and has enjoyed spectacular success with its Christmas productions for children.

Although there will still be opportunities for amateur companies to stage productions, the main focus will shift towards presenting professional work for 11 to 16 year olds.

Councillor Ian Ward, cabinet member, Leisure, Sport and Culture, said: 'The Old Rep is a significant cultural asset to Birmingham. I am delighted that this re-launch provides us all with a wonderful opportunity to give the theatre a new identity which will meet the needs of young people from across the city.'

The Young Rep will be in operation next Spring. In future years it is anticipated that the theatre will attract international work for young people and that productions will be commissioned.

Coun Ward, added: 'It is an exciting time for the development of the 'cultural quarter' as the theatre is in close proximity to a series of new developments including the new Bull Ring and the Hippodrome.

'The Young Rep will provide young people across the city with opportunities to engage with professional theatre companies and will help to further establish Birmingham as an international city that values art and culture.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 29, 2001
Words:303
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