3 March 2024 / Members

A Tale of Two Theatres

The Farnham Theatre Association (FTA), a member of the STR, has recently published an account of Farnham’s two repertory theatres.

A Tale of Two Theatres – told by those who knew Farnham’s Castle and Redgrave Theatres – compiled by Anne Cooper.

Anne Cooper, FTA Chairman says:  “As compiler of these histories, I have relied on people’s voices who really did know the theatres from the inside – actors, directors and audiences and the volunteers.  It is their words that really give life to the story. Pictures also help tell the tale.  Many photographs (some in colour) are from the archives and memorabilia which we inherited from the Redgrave. There are also images retrieved from the Museum of Farnham and some from the Surrey History Centre. This book shows the value of archived material in telling future generations about the history of the rise of a small repertory theatre in a small market town, how it grew to become a nationally acclaimed success and how circumstances led to its decline.  Now, after selling the book through our friends and supporters, we hope that it will achieve a wider audience and increase the knowledge of our cultural history.


What a fascinating read.  So many contributions from people whose lives were enriched by connections with the Castle and Redgrave Theatres; you have made certain that Farnham’s theatrical history is kept alive in people’s minds.  Your brilliant book gives a lively history of the two theatres and shows just how far-reaching are their influences for good.  (Pauline Jefferson)

 I’ve read your lovely book cover to cover and enjoyed every word.  For a start, it’s such an attractive-looking publication, every page well laid out and plenty of good clear illustrations.  Then you tell the story so well.  I love the way you incorporate different peoples’ memories into your narrative so smoothly, the various voices adding valuable colour.  Besides being an enjoyable and nostalgic read, it’s also a valuable contribution to Farnham’s history and I appreciate your meticulous footnotes, acknowledgements and indexing.  They’re such a pain do but so helpful to future researchers and historians! (Rosemary Wisbey)

Reading the book I was amazed at the number of truly successful actors and actresses who began their careers or played in their early days at Farnham.  It is tribute to the Farnham Rep that it was so highly regarded by actors and agents.  If there were no other proof of the success of the Redgrave this would be sufficient. (Michael Holden)

You can buy this for £15.99 plus pp. from FTA itself  and also online through Amazon.  Any profits from sales will go towards protecting the archives.

On their website you can also find details of their smaller publication, Theatre in Farnham at Church House Between the Wars, which details the town’s connections with professional theatre that gave rise to the establishment of The Castle Theatre.

Farnham Theatre Association Ltd. company limited by guarantee
Registered office: 27 Alfred Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 8ND
Registered in England No. 6250927