A New Dawn
The idea to have a new, purpose-built theatre was created following the destruction of the Empire Theatre in Longton by fire on New Year’s Eve 1992 after plans to purchase this wonderful period property came to an abrupt end.
Fund Raising had started by the Rep members in 1991 and the new build project received the help of the Arts Council, a National Lottery grant, the support of the City Council, funds raised by the membership and the generous sponsorship of numerous local companies and businesses. Plans for the new theatre were drawn up by Hulme Upright and Partners in October 1993 and approved.
The first sod was cut at a ceremony at the Leek Road site attended by Sir Richard Bailey and those Rep members who had helped to steer and coordinate the project. The vision slowly but surely became reality.
On November 7th 1997, at a Gala Evening, The Players were proud to open a brand new 250 seat theatre in Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent. It was opened by the guest of honour, the Right Honourable Mark Fisher MP, Minister for The Arts.
The Rep Today
The Rep is a Limited Company with charitable status. It is operated and staffed by volunteers and receives no annual funding or grants from National Arts bodies or the City Council. It is self-sustaining through hiring its facilities and expertise to local Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre Companies. Since its opening in 1997 the Directors have continued to improve, develop and maintain the venue to the highest standards possible. In 2018 after twenty years of ever increasing use the Auditorium seating was replaced and it was the largest refurbishment project since 1997.
It continues to be the the home of our own amateur theatre company, The Stoke on Trent Repertory Players, and 2021 marks the Centenary of this group of dedicated performers.
A fuller history of the Stoke on Trent Repertory Players can be found on The Players website
Peter Croft (Theatre Archivist)