Photo Flash: First Look at CIRCLES at Birmingham Rep

Birmingham's famous outer circle bus route is to be the setting for a new play at Birmingham Repertory Theatre this May. Circles, Rachel De-lahay's vivid and powerful drama set on Birmingham's number 11 bus boldly explores cycles of violence and what it takes to break them. Scroll down for a first look at the cast in action!

Circling the outskirts of Birmingham on the number 11 bus, two teenagers develop an unlikely friendship. Meanwhile a mother observes her daughter's attempt to leave a violent relationship. Against the backdrop of a changing city everyone involved is forced to re-examine all they thought they knew about love, trust, family and friendship.

Birmingham's outer circle 27-mile bus route has previously provided inspiration for amongst others a Scottish dance and a collection of short stories by Birmingham writers. It also featured in the Man Booker shortlisted novel, Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall and Jon Bounds, a blogger and humourist, once spent 11 hours on the 11 bus on the 11 November.

Rachel De-lahay, who grew up in Handsworth on the number 11 route, is one of the most exciting young writers working in Britain today. Called the 'queen of urban cool' by The Independent and included in the Sunday Telegraph's 2014 Hotlist, Rachel won the award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards in 2013, a 2013 Writers Guild Award for Best Play and also the 2011 Alfred Fagan Award.

The cast for Circles includes Sarah Manners as Angela. The Birmingham actress is best known for her role as Joanna Helm in the BBC series Doctors. Sarah has also appeared on screen in The Bill and Casualty. Janice McKenzie plays Phyllis. Her theatre credits include Miss Haversham in Great Expectations and Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, These Four Streets at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Spring Storm at Northampton Royal Theatre and National Theatre. Janice also appeared most famously as Gloria Weaver in Emmerdale.

Toyin Omari-Kinch, also from Birmingham, plays Malachi. Toyin's theatre credits include Respect and At The Gates of Gaza at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, The Lost Happy Endings at mac and The Flying Machine at the Unicorn, London. The cast is completed by Danusia Samal who plays Demi. Her recent credits include the lead role the critically acclaimed Billy The Girl at Soho Theatre and Lulu in The Birthday Party at the Royal Exchange Manchester.

Circles is directed by Tessa Walker with design by Bob Bailey, lighting design by Simon Bond and sound design by Becky Smith.

Following its premiere in Birmingham, Circles will transfer to the Tricycle Theatre, London from 27 May - 14 June and will also tour regionally to Worcester, Derby, Ledbury, Bromsgrove and Bridgnorth with support from the Sir Barry Jackson Trust.

Circles will run Friday 9 to Saturday 24 May at The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP. Performance times are 8pm Monday to Saturday, apart from Thursday 15 May at 7pm. Matinees are at 2.30pm on Saturday 17 and Thursday 22 May.

Tickets are £12 with concessions available. To purchase, call the box office at 0121 236 4455 or book online at

Photo Credit: Graeme Braidwood

high res photos

Photo Flash: First Look at CIRCLES at Birmingham Rep
Danusia Samal (Demi) and Toyin Kinch (Malachi)

Photo Flash: First Look at CIRCLES at Birmingham Rep
Danusia Samal (Demi)

Photo Flash: First Look at CIRCLES at Birmingham Rep
Toyin Kinch (Malachi) and Danusia Samal (Demi)

Photo Flash: First Look at CIRCLES at Birmingham Rep
Janice McKenzie (Phyllis) and Sarah Manners (Angela)

high res photos

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