Talk:Repertory theatre

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Confusing and needs cleanup[edit] 02:02, 3 September 2005 (UTC): I just abandoned an attempt to clean up this mess, due to an incomplete understanding of the topic. Let me instead highlight some problems with this article:

  • The most blantant issue is the insertion of a paragraph on "homeopathic repertory" in the middle of a theatre article. That bit needs to be spun off into its own article (easy enough) and linked into place (don't know the topic well enough to do that).
  • Once that's taken care of, then an actual introductory paragraph about repertory theatre is needed. In the current version, the best starting point is the fifth paragraph:
The term is used in the theatre to refer to any number of two or more plays which are rotated within a season, usually alternating with different plays every night for a period of time. Plays are rehearsed all at once or in rapid succession, and often feature the same actors or company in several plays.
That starting point can then account for the points made in the first:
Properly, repertory is a style of a number of repertory companies which rehearsed and performed plays in a fortnight. Originally a British idea, these were professionals but due to time restraints and commercial restraints they played like amateurs.
  • There's evidently a UK/US difference in the meaning of repertory theatre.
  • There are also differences just within the United States. Organizations like Oregon Shakespeare Festival and American Repertory Theatre share the notion that you need a company of actors (in the tradition of King's Men (playing company)), playing a repertoire of plays. San Jose Repertory Theatre on the other hand, hires actors on a play-by-play basis, so they've obviously got a different concept about what repertory is. If you dig into the various Theatre companies you might find even more variations which challenge any attempt to pin "repertory" down.
  • For reference, Merriam-Webster defines the theatrical meaning of repertory as
    • a company that presents several different plays, operas, or pieces usually alternately in the course of a season at one theater,
    • a theater housing such a company
    • the production and presentation of plays by a repertory company <acting in repertory>
  • The distinction between repertory theatre and Summer stock theatre should be discussed.
  • The relationship between repertory theatre and Community theatre (UK) and Community theatre, if any, should be explained.
  • Some theatres (e.g. Utah Shakespearean Festival and Oregon Shakespeare Festival have certain actors in each season's company returning for years and years, presumably audience favorites. This is facilitated by a deliberately fostered relationship between regular patrons and the company of actors, through informal talks that the cast and crew have with audience members (not to mention the various perks offered to season ticket holders and major supporters). This aspect seems critical to the success of some forms of repertory theatre.
No kidding. I just came here to check an incoming link. Ow. I like your ideas and will have a go at following them as soon as I have sorted that incoming link out. Telsa 16:10, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Some progress[edit]

  • Created repertory (disambiguation), moved homeopathy stuff to homeopathic repertory, added link on rep page to this one.
  • Started with your suggested beginning, but reworded a lot. Lost the comment about professionals playing like amateurs: there may be some highly technical meaning to thespians here but from the outside it looks criticism. ("What an amateur!" sort of thing.) Didn't know what you meant by UK/US difference, so stuck lots of UK mentions in along with (what I hope is) some context. Someone else can add US commentary. Removed some of the "see also"s. I saw the comment about discussing relationship between rep and fringe (etc) but I don't think that there is a single simple relationship.
  • References for the actors I claimed started in rep: Patrick Stewart cite here; Jeremy Brett here; Imelda Staunton here (check for "I started in rep" remark); Ian Mckellan here. I am rather taken aback to find that only one of these has a mention of rep in Wikipedia articles about them: it seems that Wikipedia article writers consider "started in theatre" or "early years on the stage" all that need be said and reserve detailed writing for film careers.
  • Outstanding: an authoritative discussion of the heyday of the rep system, its benefits and drawbacks, its origins and its decline would really help. Was it only ever a UK system? Did it happen elsewhere in Europe, in English-speaking countries, where? There are tons of actors' biographies which mention early years in rep. Alas, although I have read many of them, I have none to hand to quote.

This has all taken rather longer than I expected, so I am saving whilst I still know the difference between save and quit :) Telsa 22:29, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Subject is a mess, but more is better[edit]

I have gotten into this mess of a subject. I have tried to add some British and US and Canadian data (I have worked at reps in all three) and I do believe that the reader should have a wealth of "see also"'s to look at and check out. I've added "actor" to lead them to yet another list of subjects to do with acting. I am a professional actor/director/teacher now somewhat retired, and with more time on my hands. I try to put myself in the position of someone coming into the profession, and wanting to look at the array of subjects confronting them, the ideal Wikipedia target, it seems to me. And more useful than any one book you can name. JohnClarknew 02:22, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


A long time has gone by, and more articles get creeped in. I think that this page should be merged with Repertoire and Stock company (acting), because the idea of resident companies as opposed to one-off static or touring commercial productions in large theatres can be expressed in one article. Festival theatre should remain separate. I think that these articles should be merged under this heading (Repertory) only because this concept and usage grandfathered the development into the kinds that have followed. JohnClarknew 07:07, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Weekly rehearsal schedule[edit]

A belated thanks to User:JohnClarknew for this excellent section, which he added six months ago. I worked in weekly rep in the Isle of Wight in the 1962 season as a leading man — 16 weeks, 16 plays, under exactly the working conditions John describes.

I'd like to add, for entertainment rather than for scholarly enterprise, that the pay was ridiculous (but I'm sure everyone guessed that — the management ran off with nearly all the money). IN ADDITION, male actors were expected to own a dinner jacket, a business suit, and a reasonable selection of dress shirts and ties; the women were expected to own one formal evening dress and at least two respectable day outfits. The point being, of course, that, thus equipped, virtually the entire oeuvre of Noel Coward, Terence Rattigan, Agatha Christie and William Douglas-Home could be presented without spending a sou for costumes. Period pieces were never performed, for that very reason. Ronnie Barker's autobiography [1] — although perhaps a trifle over-concerned with his sexual conquests in this milieu — is a very, very funny take on weekly rep. El Ingles 00:49, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

That section is not written with a neutral point of view and doesn't sound encylopedic at all. 00:57, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the previous unsigned comment... while it may be entertaining it does not belong in an encylopedia. Will be working on this in the near future! The ruggedly handsome pig-tamer's princess (talk) 22:39, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I think that's why El Ingles put it here on the talk page. (His "I'd like to add..." should not, I think, be taken literally.) I'd like to add that (ideally entertaining) first-person clarifications of confusing topics (especially when they come with suggestions of books on the topic to follow up with) are very welcome on talk pages. Cheakamus (talk) 04:02, 25 November 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ Barker, R. (1994). Dancing in the Moonlight: My Early Years. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-59104-8. 

More Improvements[edit]

I have made an attempt to clean up this page, particularly the reheasal schedule. It's still not up to standards as far as I'm concerned, but at least it is a better representation of what Wikipedia should be. --The ruggedly handsome pig-tamer's princess (talk) 20:04, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

An unusually clear example of how wikipedia has a tendency to get blander over time. --El Ingles (talk) 23:04, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Blander or better? It is important to adhere to the guidelines in order to keep a page from being deleted. Personal opinions and observations do not have a place in an encyclopedia. --The ruggedly handsome pig-tamer's princess (talk) 21:04, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

As for Singapore...[edit]

Pacerier (talk) 23:59, 4 December 2015 (UTC): ❝

Which are the repertory theatres located in Singapore? Is The Projector ( considered one?
There is also "The Singapore Repertory Theatre" ( Not sure what it's all about though, seems like just a place for "kid's" screenings?