repertory movement



  • A campaign in early 20th-century Britain to restore a truerepertory system by creating repertory theaters throughoutthe country. It began as a reaction to the commercial thinking thatfavoured long-run productions. The movement's success came mostlyin the provinces. Leaders of the repertory movement included FrankBenson with his summer festival (1886 - 1916) at Stratford-upon-Avon,Annie Horniman who established Manchester's Gaiety Theatreas the first permanent repertory theater in 1907, and Frank Waringwho founded the Glasgow Repertory Theatre in 1909. The oldest survivingrepertory theater in Britain is the Liverpool Playhouse, which openedin 1911. These venues proved excellent training grounds for youngactors, who could learn a range of parts by appearing in a seriesof productions that usually lasted no longer than a week at a time.

    More than 100 repertory theaters existed in the early 1950s,but by 1960 the number had fallen to 44. A summer venue was establishedin 1951 at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre in Scotland, while the BelgradeTheatre with its resident repertory company opened in 1958 in Coventry.Since the 1960s there has been a revival in regional theaters, whereshort-run productions usually last for three or four weeks.