Announcing new shows and projects to celebrate 50 years
Artistic Director of Birmingham Rep, Sean Foley, announces further projects to mark 50 years of the theatre on centenary square.
The Rep is delighted to announce new shows and projects as we continue to celebrate our 50th birthday season. Scroll down to see the full programme.
Following the celebratory reopening of Birmingham Rep this autumn with critically acclaimed productions of East Is East, the brand new musical What’s New Pussycat? and the presentation of Grenfell: Value Engineering, Artistic Director Sean Foley announces a new collection of work to follow his own production of the classic comedy The Play What I Wrote. The season continues Foley’s aim of bringing artistically ambitious popular theatre to the Rep and Birmingham: the programme includes brand new musicals, new writing that explores issues of class and race, reinventions of classics, and combines work from established and new talent alike. Representing the diversity of people and artistic form in UK theatre, the season also marks a clear determination to put artists and talent development at the heart of the Rep’s work.
Re-opening The Rep after such a long close-down has been an exhilarating, somewhat hair-raising, and occasionally genuinely electrifying experience. Welcoming audiences back, and re-starting work with great artists, has had an extraordinary rejuvenating effect: it is the life-blood of any theatre, and everyone working at The Rep has been thrilled by the response to our productions. We are so grateful that our 25th Anniversary production of East is East went on to re-open the NT’s Lyttleton, and that What’s New Pussycat? has been such a huge hit with audiences. Now, we continue to toast The Rep’s 50th Anniversary in its Centenary Square home with new shows that innovate, investigate and celebrate. I am particularly thrilled that Birmingham artists are well represented throughout the season, and that Madeleine Kludje will be directing her first show as Associate Director for The Rep. For over 100 years The Rep has been the home of the new in UK theatre, and we are as excited as ever to invite audiences to the original ‘you had to be there’ experience of live theatre.” – Sean Foley
The Rep is delighted to be partnering with BE FESTIVAL once again to present this special winter programme. It features work from Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain and Belgium. Stretching the boundaries of what theatre can be and dealing with a wide range of important contemporary issues. The full programme will be announced soon.
Foundry has been one of The Rep’s signature talent development strands since 2013. Focussing on the development of individual artists’ practice, it has been one of the most successful talent development programmes in UK theatre: previous Foundry alumni have gone on to work throughout the UK theatre industry in venues including Leeds Playhouse, Home Manchester, Royal Shakespeare Company, Sherman Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Bush Theatre, Paines Plough, BAC and many more. Now, after a hiatus caused by the pandemic, Foundry will return in 2022. With a radically different approach, the new Foundry will combine artist development with community engagement. Artists will be working in community settings, with local non-professional participants, to co-create new works that celebrate the unique and often underrepresented voices from across the city and region. This programme of work will be totally accessible for deaf and disabled artists and participants. The Rep will centre the work around D/deaf and disabled artists and participants. This new Foundry is made possible by funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Ramps on the Moon. Eight community artists per year will be developed over the two years of the programme. 16 artists in total will be trained, and be able to develop their professional co-creative practice while also developing the creativity and confidence of communities.
A new Artistic Associate was also announced today. Joining Mohammed Ali, Lolita Chakrabarti, Paul Hunter, Tyrone Huggins, Debbie Isitt, Lorna Laidlaw, Drew McOnie, Meera Syal and Richard Thomas will be Caroline Wilkes.
Caroline is a theatre maker and director creating work across the Midlands and the UK. She is an associate director at New Vic Theatre, a Graeae Beyond Artist and an RTYDS Connect Artist. She has directed large scale community theatre productions as well as being an artistic associate with a large mental health trust. Current projects include ‘Cool’, an adaptation of a Michael Morpurgo novel, with The Rep and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.