Friends and family asked to pay tribute to former Northampton Repertory Theatre music director

Former music director of the Northampton Repertory Theatre, Barbara Allen NNL-140721-142642001
Former music director of the Northampton Repertory Theatre, Barbara Allen NNL-140721-142642001

A memorial website has been created in memory of a former music director of the Northampton Repertory Theatre.

Barbara Rawlings, nee Allen, was born and bred in Northampton was a fine concert pianist and music teacher. She died peacefully earlier this year on May 22.

Her love of music was fostered by her father Albert Allen, a plumber by trade, boy soprano and violist with Northampton Symphony Orchestra. While a student at Notre Dame School, she developed early childhood leukaemia. Despite ill health and predictions from the doctors that she would never live to adulthood, Barbara amazed everyone with her full life and many musical accomplishments.

Barbara studied piano performance and composition in London at the Royal Academy of Music under Harold Craxton and Greville Cooke. She began her career in musical theatre as an understudy to pianist Reginald Barker and later as accompanist at Northampton Repertory Theatre in the early 1950′s.

During her time with Northampton Repertory, she worked with directors Lionel Hamilton and Willard Stoker, designer Tom Osborne Robinson and with many actors and writers who went on to find fame in film and television: Lionel Blair, Freda Jackson, Alan Brown, Arthur Pentelow, Jonathan Adams, Nigel Hawthorne (Yes Minister) and Julian Fellowes (creator of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey) to name a few. She eventually became the first female Musical Director of Northampton Repertory Theatre.

While her children were growing up, Barbara worked as head of music at the Holy Convent School in Pitsford.

Later, Barbara taught music at the Northampton Music School (formerly John Clare School of Music). It was there that she met her second husband John Rawlings and they married in 1982. Thereafter they split their time between Northampton, New Malden and caravanning in Wales. Following the death of John in 1990, Barbara moved back to Northamptonshire, to the village of Moulton.

Friends and family are invited to read see photos and share their stories of Barbara at a memorial website at