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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe 2023 production shot. The whole cast of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe performing on stage. They are all standing facing the audience and are singing. In the centre, there is the White Witch. The Pevensie family and Aslan are standing beside her. Some of the cast are playing instruments (piano, cello, and accordion).

2023 at The Rep

We’ve had an amazing year both on stage and behind the scenes! We’ve been making headlines across Birmingham and beyond, gaining experience and evermore recognition for The Rep, culminating in a nomination for The Stage‘s THEATRE OF THE YEAR. As the year draws to a close, let’s take a journey through the highlights that have defined The Rep’s remarkable year.

The Rep on Stage

Sinatra The Musical Production image. Matt Doyle (Frank Sinatra) and Greg Bernstein (Gene Kelly) are stood in the centre dancing with their arms held up. The rest of the ensemble are stood around clapping.

Photography Credit: Manuel Harlan

  • Our stages have been buzzing with activity, with more than 49 productions of which 11 were Rep co-productions and 8 were made from scratch, right here in the building.
  • In February, our world premiere production Spitting Image The Musical took audiences by storm. With 5* reviews and a cast of over 100 famous faces from Tom Cruise to Stormzy it was the first of our 2023 productions that transferred to the West End.
  • Spitting Image was closely followed by The Way Old Friends Do – written by Ian Hallard and directed by Mark Gatiss, it also had a West End run over the summer.
  • In Spring, our production of Of Mice and Men toured to 5 venues, including The Rep, and was seen by over 25,000 people.
  • In Summer we were proud to host Blackstory Partnership’s Windrush Day 75th anniversary celebrations in June; and in July more than 200 young people took to the stage as part of Young Rep’s Order and Chaos Festival.
  • Also in July, crowds enjoyed a concert performance of our unmissable 2022 show, GrimeBoy which was performed as part of Birmingham Festival 23.
  • In Autumn, we brought the glitz of Broadway to Birmingham with the world premiere performances of Sinatra – The Musical, co-produced with Frank’s daughter, Tina Sinatra.
  • This Christmas, our production of The Snowman celebrated its 29th anniversary as well as its 26th consecutive season at London’s Peacock Theatre.
  • 1,511 Teens Go Free tickets were issued – helping more young people to experience live theatre.
  • And 168,000 tickets have been sold this year, with audiences enjoying the best shows in town!
  • Our audiences travelled from as far as Phoenix Arizona, Singapore and Germany but 75% came from Birmingham and the West Midlands! We can’t wait to welcome you all back next year.

Off stage we were just as busy

Image taken backstage of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe production. a young white woman wearing a green shirt is holding a mini steam train used in one of the scenes.

Image Credit: Kris Askey

  • We have delivered 13 Rep volunteer-led public backstage tours.
  • We have organised more than 11 Workshops and Masterclasses and welcomed 6 members to our year-long talent development scheme, Foundry.
  • Our wardrobe department continued to innovate, using 200 tiny magnets to help with fast costume changes for Matt Doyle, who played Frank Sinatra!
  • We had 2,139 people apply for roles at The Rep this year, a 23% increase from 2022 and in total, we employed 364 people in permanent, fixed term and casual roles.
  • And we were thrilled to be the only arts organisation listed in the Social Mobility Foundation’s Top 75 Employers Index 2023.
  • In July, we became Birmingham’s first Theatre of Sanctuary, awarded in acknowledgment of the work our teams do to engage with marginalised communities and support sanctuary seekers.
  • And that same month Baroness Floella Benjamin opened the Young Rep Hub, a new, dedicated community and learning space that is used for free by groups across our city.
  • In September we launched the Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize award and received 557 submissions with the winner being announced in May 2024.
  • This year The Rep’s Community Partnerships have included, Stories of Hope and Home, LouDeemY, Open Theatre, Journey LGBT+ Asylum Group, Restore, Women and Theatre, City of Sanctuary and many more.
  • More than 2,500 tickets were given away to families and groups across the West Midlands, many of which went to people who were seeing a theatre show for the very first time.
  • Plus, we launched our latest programme for young people – Young Rep Backstage – a fully funded course for those aged 18-25 looking to gain skills in Lighting, Sound, Stage Crew, Stage Management, Wardrobe and Workshop.

Our Climate Commitments

Ben Simon as Robin, Siobhan Cha Cha as Red, and Nisha Anil as Nana in Little Red Riding Hood. Robin is stood at the front wearing a blue corduroy jacket and holding a big green umbrella above Red and is smiling at her. Red is looking up at the umbrella in wonder. She is wearing light blue dungarees and a red t-shirt. Nana is in the background in bed wearing a blue bonnet and smiling.

Photography by Graeme Braidwood

We continued our support for action on climate change joining the Culture Declares movement in declaring a Climate Emergency and made a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our sustainability.

Some of our actions included:

  • Redistributing our set for the March production of Of Mice and Men to Worcester Swan’s Romeo and Juliet.
  • We had our first Green Book production on the main stage in July with Young Rep’s The Trials as part of the Order and Chaos festival.
  • Our Christmas production in The Door for 3-6 year olds, Little Red Riding Hood, has been created as a Green Book production with a focus on upcycled materials where possible, including over 100 umbrellas in the set, all having been sourced second hand!
  • We have replaced over 700 lamps and 50 fittings with LED filaments.
  • Ensured conference materials are recycled.
  • Where possible used pre-loved and recycled clothing for all productions.
  • We have signed up to the Oil Free Sponsorship pledge.

Recognising Talent

Production photo of I, Daniel Blake. Bryony Corrigan as Katie on her first visit to the foodbank. She is stood centre stage looking lost and upset.

Photography by Pamela Raith Photography

We are thrilled that our hard work has been recognised with Awards and nominations, including:

  • Bryony Corrigan won Best Supporting Performance at the UK Theatre Awards for her role as Katie in I, Daniel Blake and has been nominated for the same accolade in the WhatsOnStage Awards.
  • Kyrelle Lammy winning Best Supporting Male Actor in a Musical for his role as TJ in Nativity! The Musical at the Black British Theatre Awards.
  • Our Technical Manager, Adrian Bradley, won the Association of British Theatre Technicians’ Technician of The Year.
  • And we were nominated for a further six more awards… including The Stage‘s THEATRE OF THE YEAR – with the announcement taking place in 2024.

Roll On 2024

Photograph of the front of The Rep at night.

Photography by Kris Askey

As 2023 comes to a close and we reflect on a year filled with triumphs both on stage, off stage and in our communities, we want to thank our audiences, communities, partners, and supporters and wish everyone a Happy New Year!


Coming up in 2024…