ALFRED Wareing was a pioneer of the repertory theatre movement.
He came to Huddersfield as a former manager of the Glasgow Repertory Theatre. When he left he became librarian at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.
The years in between, from 1919 to 1931 have been seen as the golden years of Huddersfield theatre - "The living theatre triumphant" in Stanley Chadwick's 1941 book on the Theatre Royal and "almost without parallel in the history of the English stage".
Brian Haigh, for many years Kirklees museums curator and manager, is now research assistant on the Lawrence Batley Theatre and Theatre in Huddersfield Project.
Part of his research has been on Wareing and he is giving a talk Life's a Roundabout, the Huddersfield Theatre Royal and its audience, 1919-1931 - the Wareing years - to the West Yorkshire branch of the Historical Association meeting on Thursday, February 15.
Brian says that for the theatre, as in so many areas of life, the First World War marked the end of an era.
While the population was desperate for entertainment, the First World War proved a difficult time for theatre. Rationing, restrictions and all manner of regulation affected the business, which was subject to violent fluctuations as the fortunes of war rose and fall.
Alongside the changes brought about by the war itself, theatre itself was changing. The actor managers , who had trained and toured companies were being replaced by commercial managements seeking profit. There was increasing competition from the new variety theatres and films.
By the end of the war Huddersfield had 10 picture houses, while the Palace and Hippodrome offered twice-nightly variety.
In fact, the town's first purpose-built cinema, opened in 1912, next door to the Theatre Royal in Ramsden Street.
Despite this difficult climate, Alfred Wareing willingly took up the offer to direct the Theatre Royal which had been in decline for some time. He promised to renew the theatre and add to its reputation and that of the town itself.
His long-term goal was to establish a permanent company of actors producing a repertory of plays. Initially, he planned, with the help of the public, to raise the status of the Royal to that of a "Number One" theatre.
During the next few years, Huddersfield's theatregoing public enjoyed many outstanding productions and performances.
Fred Terry, Sir John Martin Harvey, Mrs Patrick Campbell, stars who had made their name before the war, visited Huddersfield as did Ivor Novello , Eille Norwood and others made famous by the film industry.
D'Oyly Carte brought Gilbert & Sullivan operas and the Carl Rosa Opera Company made regular visits. Sir Frank Benson presented annual Shakespeare Festivals.
Between 1921 and 1930, Wareing presented seven repertory seasons, two of them devoted to the international repertoire. including plays by Ibsen, Chekhov, Gogol, Pirandello and Shaw. Through his many connections, he was able to attract the likes of Irene Vanburgh, Lady Tree and Pierre Fresnay of the Comedie Français to make guest appearances in these seasons.
To win his audience, Mr Wareing introduced mailing lists, season tickets, telephone bookings, schools' matinees, and a Theatre Guild - a club formed with the object of "creating a closer understanding between player and playgoer".
In 1931, it was announced that a resident company of 25 actors would take possession of the theatre, presenting an ambitious season to mark the Theatre Royal's Golden Jubilee.
Filling seats was never easy and attendances despite the quality of the work proved disappointing. The resident company was disbanded in July. Alfred Wareing, resigned, later to take up the post of Librarian at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre , Stratford-upon-Avon.
The talk will be given at 5.15pm at Huddersfield University in Room WG/01 West Building.
In partnership with the Lawrence Batley Theatre, the University of Huddersfield, with financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is developing an archive telling the story of theatre in Huddersfield.
Brian will be delighted to hear from anyone with memories to share. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01484 473168
BRIAN Haigh also cites parallels in Huddersfield history for some old favourites that are being seen again now.
Charley's Aunt is on tour (with dates in Bradford and Salford) with Stephen Tompkinson in the role of Lord Fancourt Babberley.
Brian says Charley's Aunt was a regular visitor to the Theatre Royal. Penley's Number One Company brought it first on June 10, 1895 when theatregoers turned out in force despite the "tropical weather".
Alfred Wareing and Charley's Aunt author Brandon Thomas were both members of the Savage Club.
The opening of a new adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Hound of the Baskervilles at West Yorkshire Playhouse, prompts another memory.
It's a long way from today's three-man spoof to the Eille Norwood melodrama which played to capacity at the Theatre Royal in 1923.
Eille Norwood, considered a definitive Sherlock Holmes, starred in 47 films made in 1920-23. He appeared here in The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Harold Terry and Arthur Rose.
Brian says Mr Norwood, a Yorkshireman, pleased the audience with a splendid pun, noting that Huddersfield cloth and Huddersfield's theatre were both known for their `good wearing'."