Barbara Barrett (1922-2014)

What a woman! What a life! A Toast to the Toastmistress

Barbara Barrett was an award-winning journalist, dramatist, teacher, musician, actor, and director. She was an inspiration, often lauded as the matriarch of our province's theatre community. Born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England on 3 November 1922 began a career in theatre at a young age. At 18 she was directing church plays. During WWII she volunteered in the war effort as a farm larbourer and an air-raid warden. A war bride, Barrett moved to Newfoundland in 1946 with her husband Arthur, his home. Barbara taught music and dance lessons privately, founded various community clubs and troupes (including the Corner Brook Joystars, Stephenville Players, and Gander's Avion Players), directed radio plays, hosted her own radio programs, taught in high schools and with MUN's extension services, AND volunteered with community groups and organizations. Barrett is, perhaps, best known for her work as Artistic Director of the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre's Basement Theatre, renamed the Barbara Barrett Basement Theatre in 2012. During her 16 years at ACC's Basement Theatre she was responsible for presenting 1014 shows which included both professional and amateur productions.

Barbara Barrett’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. She has been formally recognized for her individual productions as well as her body of work. Awards include: Order of Canada (1995), Order of Newfoundland and Labrador (2007), honourary Doctorate from Memorial University (2013), as well a lifetime honourary membership from the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Festival.

To learn more about Barbara, visit the Archives and Special Collections, and check out Barbara Barrett Collection (Coll-178) , interviews (including several with Barbara) in the STAGE Collection website(Coll-370), Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Festival Collection (Coll-180)and the Barbara Barrett Basement Theatre Collection (Coll-173). many of Barbara's productions can also be found within our poster (Coll-143)and program (Coll-138) collections.

Poster #79 in Coll-143 NL Performing Arts Posters