STALWART Dr Richard Sadler has been praised for 36 years of service, working as the Belgrade Theatre’s official photographer between 1958 and 1994.
The Coventry theatre has honoured the photographer and his work by naming a seat after him in the venue’s auditorium.
The seat, which features an engraved plaque, was unveiled along with an ornamental clock face dedicated to the photographer – and forming part of a public art piece on display in the theatre’s foyer.
As the Belgrade Theatre approaches its 60th anniversary, Coventry company Photo Archive Miners has been commissioned to digitise Richard’s Belgrade collection, which includes an archive of over 1,200 images documenting the theatre’s history.
Dr Sadler spent much of his career on commercial and artistic projects, capturing life in Coventry.
His portfolio includes photographs of working life at Courtaulds, a fabric and clothing factory in Foleshill – alongside images of Hillfields during post-Second World War, which include photos of his grandmother, Minnie Sadler, in 1951.
Hamish Glen, artistic director for the Belgrade Theatre, said: “Richard’s photographs are an extraordinary and invaluable record of the theatre’s history and people from its very early days.”
During his time at the Belgrade Theatre Richard photographed many famous faces early on in their careers, including David Suchet, Irene Handl, Susan Hill, Robert Lindsay, Leslie Grantham and Rosemary Leach.
He went on to become a lecturer at Derby University where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate – and is now a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
Photo Archive Miner Jason Scott Tilley said: “It has been a great privilege to search through thousands of photographs of one of the country’s most distinguished photographers. Richard is a true craftsman and his sense of theatre shines through in his photography.
“The archive he has amassed is of great significance not only to the Belgrade but to Coventry as a whole.
“We would like to thank photography students from Coventry University who engaged with us on this project and have helped during the digitisation process.”
The Photo Archive Miners work to revive photographic collections and create exhibitions that tell the hidden stories within communities.
It is hoped that their work will culminate in an ‘exciting’ project bringing the history of the Belgrade to life next year to celebrate its 60th anniversary.