Doreen Retires from Her Long Running Role at Oldbury Rep
Oldbury Rep Chairman Doreen Bastable decided to stand down after 38 years in the post, at this years AGM, held at the Barlow Theatre on 13th April. It was a momentous occasion for the Langley based theatre group as Doreen, a member of the Company since 1942 handed the baton over to Chris Smith, who was elected unopposed.
Doreen, aged 87 from Halesowen, joined Oldbury Repertory Players in 1942 and was elected as registrar in 1947. In 1957 she became the company’s Business Manager and was elected as Chairman in 1977 a total of 68 years as an elected officer of ORP. As Chairman she guided the company through many changes to the Spring St. site and worked closely with Sandwell Council and the Black Country Development Agency. It’s true to say that the theatre has been her life and she has given selflessly of her time. Her late husband, Dan, was also a great supporter of Oldbury Rep and was instrumental in the conversion of the Spring St. Methodist Chapel into The Barlow Playhouse which was officially opened in 1956 by Sir Barry Jackson, the founder of Birmingham Rep.
In 1969 Doreen was made a Life Member of the theatre. In addition to her administrative roles she has appeared on stage in 54 productions, her first show was in Cinderella in 1942 as part of the dance troupe and recently turned to directing, including ‘Brief Encounter’ as part of the theatre’s 70th Anniversary celebrations, in 2009. Of her time as Chairman Doreen commented, “It’s been a great privilege to be Chairman of Oldbury Rep and I would like to thank the members and Council of Management over the many years for their support. I will continue to support the company in any way I can and look forward to seeing an adventure that began in 1939 continue to grow and flourish”,
New Chairman, Chris Smith, aged 57, has been associated with Oldbury Rep all his life, as his mother, Gwen and father Philip, were both founder members of the company in 1939; his wife and children are also members of the theatre. A true family affair. Chris first trod the boards aged 12 in ‘The Farmer’s Wife’ and since then has appeared in over 40 main house productions. He has undertaken many other areas of responsibility over the years including theatre warden, bar manager, company archivist and most recently company secretary.
On his appointment as Chairman he said “I am very honoured and proud to be chairman and I am determined, with the continued support of its membership, to ensure Oldbury Rep produces first class theatre in the area while remaining friendly, open and welcoming as it has always been and to continue to build on the achievements of former Chairmen”.