(Image: Brian Tomlinson)

When considering the wealth of iconic institutions situated here in Birmingham, one instantly pictures the gloriously, traditional Old Rep theatre.

Since 1913, the theatre has been a champion of the city it calls home, committed to curating astounding theatrical performances that showcase the best of the region’s rich talent.

To this day, this tradition remains, with great thanks to the passionate students of Birmingham Ormiston Academy who use their talents, and skills developed on various performing, creative and digital arts pathways, to bring multiple plays, musicals and dance performances to the stage.

To celebrate the building’s impressive history and talent, which is still thriving over one hundred years later, we give you a host of fun facts about The Old Rep, from its past, present and future.


  • The Old Rep holds legendary status as Britain’s first purpose-built repertory theatre.
  • Surprisingly, the build took just four months to complete. To this day, the Grade II listed building has been well-preserved and retains many of its original features.
  • A mirror rumoured to have been requested by Sir Laurence Olivier is still housed there.
  • The theatre opened for the first time in February 1913 with a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
  • Many of Shakespeare’s plays are performed on their stage, with some planned for this year, including shows presented by Birmingham Ormiston Academy’s acting students in July.
  • Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Albert Finney, Brian Cox, Julie Christie and Derek Jacobi are just some of the famous actors who have graced the stage here.


  • Birmingham Ormiston Academy successfully tendered for The Old Rep in 2014. The Academy ensures that the theatre remains a vibrant hub for young people training in performing arts.
  • Patrons include Brian Blessed, Toyah Wilcox, June Brown and Brian Cox.


The Old Rep is always evolving with the times and needs of the community, which is a testament to its iconic status here in Birmingham. And so, the future looks brighter than ever.

This year saw the introduction of their exciting Inspire scheme. A twelve-month development program which sees four young, emerging artists receive support with rehearsal space, a work-in-progress performance, fundraising, networking and marketing.

All culminating in a showcase of work created across the year, taking place in early 2020.

A variety of shows, for all tastes, are due to take place at The Old Rep during 2019. Take your pick here and enjoy an evening supporting the best of Birmingham’s performing arts scene.

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