Birmingham Rep's Spring and Summer Season 2023

Birmingham Rep's Spring and Summer Season 2023

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Posted 2023-05-02 by dpmfollow

Wed 03 May 2023 - Sat 28 Oct 2023

From comedy to children’s shows and dance through to cutting-edge drama, Birmingham Rep is promising a season that will appeal to diverse audiences across the city and beyond.

That’s the aim of artistic director Sean Foley and executive director Rachael Thomas who have put together a programme aiming to encourage repeat and new audiences.

And, they say, there is one overriding factor – that every show on each of the stages at The Rep is top quality. “The whole philosophy of what we are attempting to do is that everything that is presented or produced or that we have a hand in needs to be excellent,” Sean says. “It's excellence for everyone. It’s important that for every genre, and for every age group, that it’s great and they love it and they come again.



The season has already kicked off successfully with the announcement that the theatre’s recent Spitting Image production, Idiots Assemble, would transfer to London. “It’s significant and a great accolade and I’m thrilled that it’s my first new show at The Rep which is transplanting to the West End,” says Sean. “But it’s also part of what we have been doing at The Rep and the attention that the shows are getting, not just Spitting Image, and appealing to new audiences across the board.

And the spring and summer look set to have a very varied programme. Christy Lefteri’s best-selling novel The Beekeeper of Aleppo is staged in the main house alongside a new adaptation of I, Daniel Blake in the Studio, which is co-produced by The Rep. “The Beekeeper of Aleppo is an extraordinary tale and they’ve created a terrific show, with the quite brilliant and award-winning director Miranda Cromwell,” says Sean. “It is an incredible novel and will appeal across the board. With Daniel Blake, again it’s a very powerful story which speaks directly to the political decisions which have led to a great many people in our society living in straitened economic circumstances. When I heard they were going to do this show, we just wanted to be part of that.

In June, Siobhán McSweeney, known to audiences from Derry Girls and The Great Pottery Throw Down, takes the lead role in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. “Happy Days is one of my favourite plays,” says Sean. “It’s directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, artistic director of Ireland’s national theatre, The Abbey, so again the level of creativity and the level of actors at The Rep in this coming season is significant.



Earlier this spring Sean announced The Rep will stage the world premiere of a new musical Sinatra in September. Written by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, who penned The Rep’s hit musical What’s New Pussycat?, and directed by Olivier and Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, the story features the ups and downs of Sinatra’s earlier years. “The creative team is amazing for this production, which is going to be extraordinary,” says Sean. “Audiences can expect the music of Frank Sinatra delivered brilliantly and the story is a very particular one about Frank Sinatra that maybe people don’t really know. It’s a showbiz tale of rags to riches to rags to riches.

The season also features comedy in the shape of a wry look at the career of former Ugly Rumours frontman turned prime minister in Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera. And in May the second Sky Comedy Rep festival brings the future stars of comic writing to the stage. Featuring a series of one-act plays set in parks, the festival is the culmination of an annual talent fostering programme by The Rep and Sky Comedy. “It’s a bursary and mentorship scheme and then uniquely we produce their plays,” says Sean. “We put together a rep company of comic actors and then we present them to a real audience which is ultimately the only way you are going to learn how to do comedy. It’s unique in the country in offering that opportunity.”

The theatre continues to focus on bringing family shows and dance to the city, says Rachael. “The children’s programme for us is about trying to provide a range of entry points for young people of all ages. So we have The Singing Mermaid, which is based on really familiar children’s books by writers including Julia Donaldson and we also have Judith Kerr’s Mog and the magical world of Dragons and Mythical Beasts.



The aim is for The Rep to gain a regional reputation for hosting quality dance. “The Rep has a fantastic stage and auditorium for dance and so, where we can, the intention is for us to be the venue for mid-scale dance in Birmingham,” Rachael explains. “We want to develop relationships with a handful of dance companies that we bring to the city on a regular basis and feed the dance ecology of the region. Ballet Black came to The Rep last year and nearly sold out so they return for two nights with Pioneers. Gary Clarke’s first piece of work Coal was about mining and was hugely successful and now his new work Wasteland is about the next generation, Gary’s generation, the children of the miners who grew up in those communities that had been torn apart when those mines closed.”

The Rep has long provided a space for touring shows – including West End hits. “In August we have Noises Off straight from the West End to begin a national tour and at Christmas we have The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe from the West End,” Rachael says. “So just as we are taking shows to the West End, like Spitting Image, so too we are giving Birmingham audiences an opportunity to experience West End shows here.”

For full details of The Rep programme and tickets see here.

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!date 03/05/2023 -- 28/10/2023
78317 - 2023-05-02 17:26:52

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