See "Story" link to read a story by Adrian Sudbury about Mrs. Barrett printed in the Hudderfield Daily Examier January 22, 2008.

Barbar Bettine Barrett C. M., O.NL


Born: 1922

Passed on: October 25th, 2014

Maiden Name: Micklethwaite
From: Huddersfield, Yorkshire
Occupation: Private Secretary
Husband: Arthur RCAF
Date of Marriage:August 12, 1944
Date of Departure: Liverpool, July 12th, 1946
Ships Name: SS Drottningholm, sailed direct to
St. John's, Newfoundland
Settled in: Curling, Gander, Stephenville,
Corner Brook and St. John’s
Children: Helena M. MacLean & John I. F. Barrett

Order of Canada

Barbara Bettine Barrett, C.M.
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Honour Appointment Investiture Member of the Order of Canada
November 15, 1995 February 15, 1996

She spearheaded many educational, cultural and social programs for the betterment of young and old alike, but is widely known as the "Matriarch" of Newfoundland theatre. Her nurturing efforts led to the creation of a scatteringof theatre groups across the province and she has assisted in the production of more than a thousand performances. As a direct result of her influence, many budding actors, most of whom are children, have been encouraged and empowered with valuable lifeskills.


Barbara Barrett, matriarch of Newfoundland theatre dead at 92


Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Recipients Invested at Government House

Barbara B. Barrett

Since arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from England as a war bride in 1946, Barbara Barrett has devoted the past 61 years to volunteering and sharing her expertise in the realm of theatre arts. She is considered by many as the matriarch of Newfoundland and Labrador theatre.

Ms. Barrett’s work is well known throughout the province, and she has participated in the production of more than 1,000 theatrical performances. Her efforts have inspired the creation of various theatre groups and introduced many young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to the world of theatre. Under her mentorship, countless young artists have learned to build sets, read scripts, display and control emotions and communicate with large groups. As a direct result of her encouragement and influence, many emerging actors have also been empowered with valuable life skills.

Her life-long relationship with theatre has been a driving force in the development of the vibrant acting community this province boasts today. In 2003, in recognition of her dedication, she was made an honourary life member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Society.

As a writer, she has compiled a syllabus on public speaking for Air Cadets; written and illustrated a textbook on drama for the 4-H movement; and was commissioned, in 1985, to write and direct a performance marking the 75th anniversary of Guiding in Canada. She has also published a book entitled, "Theatre – My Other Love Affair."

In addition to her pursuits in the arts community, Ms. Barrett has served the Girl Guide movement as captain of the first Air Ranger Company in the province and as Area Commissioner for Western Newfoundland and Provincial Ranger Advisor. She has also found time to teach English as a second language for the Association for New Canadians.

In 1996, she was invested as a member of the Order of Canada. She has presided at 21 citizenship ceremonies and has administered the Oath of Citizenship to more than 500 new Canadian citizens.


Some information from the Book, ”We Came From Over the Sea” page 18

Barbara B. Barrett C.M., O.N.L., LLD

Passed on: October 25th, 2014
Barbara B. Barrett passed away peacefully at St. Clair's Mercy Hospital in St. John's Newfoundland following a short illness on October 25, 2014. Predeceased by her parent Irvin and Edith Micklethwaite of Yorkshire, England, her in-laws John A. and Ena Constance Barrett of Curling, Newfoundland and her brother in law Pilot Officer John Hamilton Barrett, RCAF WWII.

Leaving to mourn her loving husband of 70 years Arthur, daughter Helena MacLean (Kent) Lunenburg, NS, son John Barrett (Faye) Charlottetown PEI, brother Barrie Micklethwaite, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, sister in law Rose Gillam (Charlie) Mount Pearl, NL, brother in law David Barrett (Louise) Welland, ON, four grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews and many good friends and theatre colleagues.

The family wish to thank Drs. Morkar, Rideout and their medical teams as well as the nursing staff on 4 West. A special thank you to medical student Kyle Murnaghan who has been a tower of strength - a credit to the medical profession.

Cremation has taken place and visitation will be held at Carnell's Funeral Home on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 from 2:00 to 4:00pm and 7:00 to 9:00pm. Interment to take place at a later date. If so desired flowers are gratefully accepted or donations in her name to the St. John's SPCA. To send a message of condolence or to sign the memorial guest book, please visit



An icon in the Newfoundland and Labrador theatre community has died, following a brief illness.
Barbara Barrett died on Saturday at the age of 92.

Barrett was born in Huddersfield, England and served in the Women's Land Army during World War II, being awarded the Defence of Britain medal for her service.

It was during that time that she met and fell in love with Flight Lt. Arthur Barrett of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

After the war, the couple moved to Newfoundland, where Barbara Barrett began her lifelong relationship with theatre.

From war bride to theatre pioneer

The new couple first settled in Curling, on Newfoundland's west coast, where Barrett began teaching ballet and tap dancing to the community's children and young adults.


When the family moved to Gander in 1953, Barrett founded the Avion Players, a troupe that included Newfoundlanders as well as people from a host of nations, including the U.S., Holland and eastern Europe.


'The greater theatre community of Newfoundland has grown and flourished through Barbara’s pioneering efforts.' - John Barrett, son of Barbara Barrett With a relocation to Stephenville, Barrett continued her role as a leader in both the arts community and with the Girl Guides of Canada.


Eventually her husband's career took them to Corner Brook, where Barrett was heavily involved in the local Playmakers Company. She also served as the artistic director of the Arts and Culture Centre in the city.


In 1973, the family moved to St. John's, where Barrett became very involved in a then-burgeoning arts community.


She was the head of the now aptly-named Barbara Barrett Theatre, which is located on the lower level of the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre.


Until recently, Barrett served as an adjudicator, director, playwright and casting agent for the film and commercial industry.


Woman of distinction


In 2013, Barrett was recognized by Memorial University for her significant contributions to provincial theatre and was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree.


Barrett was also invested as a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Her other honours included the YMCA Woman of Distinction award, the Girl Guides Order of Merit, the Senior Citizen of Distinction and the Queen's Jubilee Medal.


Barrett also assumed Citizen Court responsibilities, which saw her presiding over dozens of immigration ceremonies, beginning in 1996.


Following her passing, Barrett`s son John distributed a press release, which listed her many accomplishments.


"The greater theatre community of Newfoundland has grown and flourished through Barbara’s pioneering efforts," he said.


"Her loss will be greatly felt by all those involved."