Obituary – Barbara Kirby

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“Here lies an atheist. All dressed up and nowhere to go.”

The opening line Barbara had instructed to be read at her funeral and, typically, it was greeted with laughter.

Barbara was born in 1946 and lived in the Bromley area for most of her life. She joined the then Beckenham Children’s Theatre in 1953 and it was there that a life-long passion for the theatre began.

Persuaded by her parents to pursue a “proper job” she studied English and Drama at Manchester University and, on completing her degree, secured a position as an Administrative Assistant at Scotland Yard. Promotions followed, and her life seemed set. The Met by day and amateur actress by night.

Then in 1984 she took the brave decision to become a professional actress. She soon became a regular in regional pantomimes and little by little her reputation grew.

TV appearances included The Bill, The League of Gentlemen, Inspector Morse, Cor Blimey! and Poirot. She went on to have a successful career as part of the National Theatre appearing in the Beaux Stratagem, The Habit of Art, Great Britain, Her Naked Skin and People. She toured with Blithe Spirit and was nominated for Best Actress in the Manchester Evening News awards for her role in Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman In Mind.

Barbara is a great testament to the success of our children and youth theatres and why we must nurture them for future generations.

Her gratitude to BTC was heartfelt and she continued to support us when she could. She had a sense of comedic timing second to none, was a fine actress and an even finer friend.

Melanie Jones

Barbara Kirby