SOMETHING ROTTEN!, BREAKFAST ON PLUTO & More Announced For Birmingham Rep's New Season
Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Artistic Director, Sean Foley, alongside Executive Director, Rachael Thomas, and Deputy Artistic Director, Amit Sharma today announced their first full season of work for the theatre.
Featuring a commitment to invest in making new work, the season combines comedies, new musicals, new drama and early career artists, in a way that is designed to reflect Birmingham in all its diversity whilst bringing the best of national and international theatre to the city, and creating work in Birmingham that plays nationally and internationally.
Sean Foley said: "I'm excited and honoured to be announcing my first season at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. The REP was the world's first purpose-built repertory theatre, and has an unrivalled pioneering history in the UK theatre industry - I can only hope to build on its amazing legacy of developing national and international artists, debuting extraordinary new shows, and delivering great nights out for the people of Birmingham and the world.
My own background is in creating and performing in independent, devised, comic theatre, in international touring and European-style physical theatre - as well as more latterly directing comedies and musicals - I hope that The REP can become a home, not just for existing plays and the classic repertory, but for creating great new shows that come from every part of the theatrical and cultural spectrum ... artistically ambitious popular theatre in all its forms.
There is a palpable sense of civic and cultural renaissance in Birmingham which everyone involved in The REP is thrilled to be contributing to. I'm incredibly lucky to be arriving here at a time of such potential for the creative industries in the City. Equally, I'm fortunate to be joining an already extraordinary team of people at the theatre, as well as those who are, like me, new to The REP. Rachael Thomas, Executive Director, Amit Sharma, Deputy Artistic Director, Sir Howard Panter, our new Chair, and all the other new appointments - together with all the writers, directors and artists in our first season - are thrilled to join those already here and be part of the challenge of creating a new chapter in The REP's history."
Howard Panter said: "Under the fresh leadership of Sean Foley and Rachael Thomas, this is a very exciting time for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Birmingham is such an important international city with its unrivalled diversity and vibrant creative industries. I believe The REP is central to the flourishing of its cultural life - I'm honored to become the new Chair and look forward to working with such a great theatre."
As part of a major re-investment in creating work, Birmingham Repertory Theatre announces a range of new Associates who will help revitalise the artistic life of the building. Tanika Gupta is appointed as the theatre's first Literary Associate, Pippa Ailion becomes Casting Associate, and Madeleine Kludje, who joined the theatre through the RTYDS scheme, becomes Associate Director. A group of Artistic Associates, who will help inform and shape the development of new work - and also work directly with and at The REP - is also announced: Mohammed Ali, Lolita Chakrabarti, Tyrone Huggins, Debbie Isitt, Iqbal Khan, Lorna Laidlaw, Meera Syal, Richard Thomas and Selina Thompson will also be part of a wider group of artistic ambassadors for the theatre.
Two new Associate Companies to The REP are announced: Told by an Idiot and The McOnie Company.
Drew McOnie is a Birmingham born artist whose relationship with The REP began when he was cast as the Boy in the original production of The Snowman over 25 years ago. He has gone on to become an award-winning director and choreographer. The partnership will include major main house work, and new theatre-dance pieces across all 3 auditoria, as well as artist development for Birmingham-based dancers. Told by an Idiot, led by Birmingham born and bred Artistic Director Paul Hunter, has a history of creative collaboration with The REP. Following two co-productions, several touring shows, and working across all three spaces, the company now becomes an Associate Company. As well as developing new shows with The REP, the company will develop its unique and internationally recognised participation programme Taught by an Idiot for the city in partnership with The REP's own nationally recognised Creative Learning offer.
As part of the commitment to new work Foley announced that new plays are under commission from a raft of writers including: Tanika Gupta, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Terry Johnson, Asif Khan, Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, Katherine Chandler and Casey Bailey.
In his first show as Artistic Director, Sean Foley will direct the UK premiere of the hit Broadway musical comedy Something Rotten!. Set in 1595, the show follows the hapless brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, who struggle to find success in the theatrical world as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary Shakespeare... desperate for success, they invent an entirely new theatrical form - the Musical! The show was nominated for ten Tony Awards.
Landmark Productions returns to The REP in the autumn with a new adaptation of Patrick McCabe's uplifting coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the Troubles. Breakfast on Pluto will star Fra Fee in the role of Patrick/Pussy Braden and has been adapted by Bob Kelly and will feature music by Duke Special. It is a co-production with Landmark Productions and Galway International Festival, and is produced in association with The Donmar Warehouse.
Calmer, a new play by Lolita Chakrabarti, will receive its world premiere in The STUDIO in October. Directed by Adrian Lester, who will be making his directorial debut, it is a co-production with Belgrade Theatre Coventry. Bright Places sees local artist Rachael Mainwaring develop a shorter piece created through our nationally recognised artist development scheme, Foundry, into a world premiere new play in The DOOR. In a co-production between Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Northern Stage, English Touring Theatre, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Oxford Playhouse, a new adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book entitled Gatsby will be directed by Maria Aberg.
Two seasonal favourites created by the theatre also return to The REP as NATIVITY! The Musical and The Snowman play back to back seasons in The HOUSE over the Christmas period.
Priority booking for Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Autumn and Winter 2020-21 season opens on Monday 9 March. General booking opens on Friday 13 March.
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
6 Centenary Square
Birmingham, B1 2EP
0121 236 4455