Highbury Theatre – A Timeline


Founding of a Community Theatre and Arts Group –The Highbury Players in Erdington, Birmingham.


Purchase of the first freehold site for the Centre, a wooden hut, at 41 Sheffield Road, Boldmere.

1937 – 1942

Volunteers commence building of the first Highbury Little Theatre.


The first performance in the new theatre happens in May. It is George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man.


Incorporation of Highbury Theatre Centre Trust.


Trust purchases the freehold of 39 Sheffield Road and adds new technical and social facilities to the Centre.


Trust purchases freehold land and Orchard House at the rear of theatre.


Beginning of major refurbishing and development programme to improve and increase the facilities for Community arts use.

1982 – 1986 

Trust manages a Community programme with Manpower Services Commission funding for long term unemployed building workers; funds are raised by the Trust and back-up grants are received from City of Birmingham. Voluntary labour continues to be provided.


The theatre’s new foyer, made possible by a generous gift from Sutton Coldfield Municipal Charities, was formally opened in December.


Launch of the Completion Campaign Programme to finish the building work and to raise the remainder of the funds required for materials and equipment. It was an important objective that the new facilities could operate free of the burden of loan charges.


Trust purchases 37 Sheffield Road for conversion to administration offices for Highbury Arts Centre.

1996 –1999

Awarded grant from National Lottery which, with funds raised locally, allowed employment of specialist contractors to work with volunteers to complete the front of the main theatre area, to purchase equipment and to refurbish Orchard House. Improvements were made throughout to assist disabled persons.


A grant was secured from Sutton Coldfield Municipal Charities which when coupled with our own fund raising facilitated the replacement of an old wooden rehearsal hut with a purpose designed Rehearsal Room and storage area. 


Green Hut demolished and Car Park extended and resurfaced. Adjacent property purchased.


A trial screening of Some Like It Hot was held in the summer of 2013. This was sufficiently successful that it was decided to restart the Highbury film club, which had originally run from 1943 to 1956.

16th March 2020

On the eve of the opening night of ‘Deep Cut’, the theatre, along with all others theatres across the United Kingdom, went dark due to the coronavirus pandemic.

2020 – 2021

The theatre reopened for limited activities as coronavirus restrictions permitted and waited for a fuller reopening when the situation allowed because, in the words of Edward Bond, “There is no world without theatre.”