The architect behind The Rep theatre in Broad Street, Birmingham, has sadly passed away over weekend aged 99.

Architect Graham Winteringhgam, who had a life-long relationship with The Rep which included cutting the red ribbon last year when the refurbished theatre reopened, was just short of his 100th birthday which was due to take place on 2 March.

The Rep theatre management paid a heartfelt tribute to the man who designed the iconic Broad Street theatre.

Graham Winteringham and the design model for The RepThe Rep
Graham Winteringham and the design model for The Rep

After an initial agreement with Graham Winteringham to build a new venue for Birmingham Rep in 1961, then housed at what is now The Old Rep on Station Street, work finally began in 1969. The Rep officially opened its doors on Broad Street in 1971 with Princess Margaret as guest of honour.

Winteringham’s building was a triumph of theatrical design, featuring one of the largest stages in Europe and a single democratic sweep of seats in its auditorium – which still remains today.

Winteringham relationship with The Rep remained throughout his life, attending almost every opening night across 52 years accompanied by his late wife Lesley, and making many generous gifts to support the theatre. During this time he would have seen 140 World Premiere productions and nine Artistic Directors at The Rep.

Princess Margaret and Graham Winteringham (right) at the opening of The Rep in 1971The Rep
Princess Margaret and Graham Winteringham (right) at the opening of The Rep in 1971

In an interview just before the reopening of The Rep after a refurbishment period in 2013, Winteringham said: “It’s become a very happy relationship. I’ve been there so many times. I mean it’s the shows I look at and hear and the building I’m in is sort of part of my life.”

Paying tribute to Winteringham’s design, The Rep’s Artistic Director, Sean Foley said: “In building The Rep’s new home, Graham drew on the contemporary to create a timeless building – with its amazing use of glass, The Rep is open, accessible and generous.

“His award-winning theatre has a unique amphitheatrical ‘democratic’ auditorium – no boxes, no stalls/circle division, every seat getting the same amazing view of the huge stage – and is both intimate and epic at the same time. It has hosted countless world premieres, been the starting place for many careers, and is itself an emblem of the great ambition and style of mid Century Birmingham.”

The Rep being constructed in Centenary SquareThe Rep
The Rep being constructed in Centenary Square
The Rep in Broad Street first opened it's door in 1971 and continues to host world premieres to the present dayRangzeb Hussain
The Rep in Broad Street first opened it’s door in 1971 and continues to host world premieres to the present day

Foley, added: “It was a privilege to be able to introduce Graham to the sold-out audience at the 50th Anniversary of the theatre’s opening in October 2021. A remarkable achievement by him to be there at all, a remarkable achievement by The Rep building to be open at all after the pandemic. He rightly received a warm and sustained ovation.

“For over 50 years Graham had been at almost every show opening: whether in our main house, large or small studio, and whether with star actors or the youth theatre, he was there – always with a generous and kind appreciation of everyone’s effort and talent, always marveling anew at what the world of The Rep was giving him. On his passing, we should marvel anew at what he gave The Rep – the place to create those worlds.

“He built this place. He loved this place. And it loved him.”

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