EastEnders stars Annette Badland named patron of historic Birmingham theatre

EastEnders actress Annette Badland has said she is “utterly delighted” to become a patron of Birmingham’s historic Old Rep theatre.

The Olivier-nominated actress, who played the villainous Aunt Babe in the BBC soap, will join Brian Cox, Toyah Willcox, Brian Blessed and June Brown as a patron of the space.

Badland, 68, said: “The Old Rep was so important to me when I first fell in love with theatre and acting, so I’m utterly delighted, surprised and honoured to be a patron.

Inside Soap Awards 2016 – London
Annette Badland attends the Inside Soap Awards in 2016 (Ian West/PA)

“It is really important to me as it is my home town and my beginnings.”

Badland, from Edgbaston in Birmingham, is also known for roles in Doctor Who and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

She has been gifted a seat in The Old Rep’s auditorium, which reads: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.”

The theatre – originally named the Birmingham Repertory Theatre – was built in 1913 as the UK’s first ever purpose-built repertory theatre, and has played a pivotal role in the careers of actors including Laurence Olivier.