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Top Theatre Shows Around Birmingham In 2020

Home > Birmingham > Comedy | Concerts | Musicals | Opera | Theatre
by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published January 11th 2020
Six, Strictly Ballroom and Carlos Acosta among highlights
From show-stopping musicals to Shakespeare plays, ballet to beautiful opera - here's a round-up of this year's hottest theatre shows coming to Birmingham in 2020.

Dreamgirls, UK tour, birmingham, Alexandra Theatre
Dreamgirls will be the big Christmas musical show of 2020

Ideal for theatre lovers, families or those heading to an opera or ballet for the first time, these are the tickets that everyone is battling to get this year.

Blithe Spirit at Malvern Theatres
27 January - 1 February

Starring Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous fame, this famous comedy is in Malvern ahead of its stint in London's West End.

Blithe Spirit follows the story of Charles Condomine who is haunted by the ghost of his first wife after being summoned by eccentric medium Madame Arcati. There's ghostly goings-on as the first wife tries to sabotage his marriage to his second wife.

Blithe Spirit, Jennifer Saunders, Malvern Theatres, UK tour
Comedian Jennifer Saunders is on stage in Malvern

Find out more at the Malvern Theatres website.

The Boy In The Dress at Royal Shakespeare Theatre
January until 8 March

The RSC has adapted David Walliams' popular children's story for stage with musical help from Robbie Williams and his writing partner Guy Chambers to make this an energetic, fun and vivacious musical.

It's a feel-good colourful show that all ages will love with catchy songs. You can read a full review here.

The Boy In The Dress opened before Christmas but it will be easier to get tickets as its run continues in Stratford upon Avon into the new year and until 8 March. For more information, visit the RSC website here.

The boy in the dress RSC, David Walliams, Robbie Williams
The Boy In The Dress by the RSC

The Bodyguard at The Alexandra Theatre
21 January - 1 February

Alexandra Burke returns to play singing diva Rachel Marron, the role made famous by Whitney Houston, in the rom-com thriller musical.

While the story follows the film of the same name with bodyguard Frank Farmer hired to protect the singer from a death threat, the show has added extra Whitney songs to make it a crowd-pleaser. It means on top of 'I Will Always Love You' there's also 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' and 'One Moment In Time'.

Alexandra Burke, the bodyguard, UK tour, birmingham, Alexandra Theatre,
Will Alexandra Burke by queen of the night?

Burke will star in evening performances with Jennlee Shallow sharing the role.

Find out more at the Alexandra Theatre website.

Asking For It at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
29 January - 15 February

Following a sold-out season at Ireland's National Theatre, this hard-hitting play based on Louise O'Neill's novel about consent makes its UK stage premiere at Birmingham Rep.

Provocative and vivid, Asking For It examines the consequences of rape and society's penchant for victim-blaming so does contain violence, strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.

There will also be a post-show discussion on 12 February.

Find out more at The Birmingham Rep website.

History Boys at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
7 February - 22 February

Wolverhampton Grand has produced this version of History Boys, the acclaimed comedy by Alan Bennett.

Charting the classroom antics of an unruly bunch of sixth-form boys and their teachers, this production stars Ian Redford, from Coronation Street and EastEnders as Hector, Jeffrey Holland, of Hi-de-Hi! fame as Headmaster and Lee Comley as Irwin.

History boys, Wolverhampton Grand, beat theatre in West Midlands 2020
The Grand puts on its own production of History Boys

Find out more at the Wolverhampton Grand website.

Swan Lake at Birmingham Hippodrome
18 February - 29 February

Birmingham Royal Ballet's lavish version of the iconic ballet returns.

The story, set by a moonlit lake, is a romantic fable of ill-fated passion between a prince and a princess who must spend her days as a swan - but can love save the day?

Birmingham Royal Ballet, swan lake, tour, Hippodrome
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet returns

Featuring a sublime and memorable musical score by Tchaikovsky, this is a ballet to savour.

Find out more at the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

The Book Of Mormon at Birmingham Hippodrome
4 March - 28 March

The multi-award winning musical from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q embarks on its long-awaited first UK tour.

Book of Mormon, birmingham Hippodrome, UK tour
Comedy Book Of Mormon heads to Birmingham

Book of Mormon will be at Birmingham Hippodrome entertaining audiences with its satirical tale about Mormons trying to spread their faith in Africa.

Find out more about the show here and visit the Birmingham Hippodrome website for tickets.

Six at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and Birmingham Hippodrome
Wolverhampton - 10 - 14 March
Birmingham - 21 July - 25 July

Sassy, funny and nominated for 5 Olivier Awards, this new musical is the hottest ticket in town.

Transforming the six wives of Henry VIII into a girl band, the show is an 80-minute run without an interval set like a concert.

Six musical, tour, Malvern Theatres, Birmingham Hippodrome
Six is a sensational unmissable show

Each of the wives takes to the mic to compete over who was treated the worst. There's elements of female empowerment and having the chance to tell their own story in this cleverly multi-layered excellent show. It's hugely fun too.

Read a full review of Six here.

Find out more on tickets for Birmingham Hippodrome here and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre here.

Everyone's Talking About Jamie at The Alexandra Theatre
16 March - 21 March

The show that soared to success in the West End heads to Birmingham and stars Shane Richie.

Everyone's Talking About Jamie, tour, Alexandra Theatre, birmingham
Follow Jamie's story at The Alexandra Theatre

Featuring an original score written by the lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, and Doctor Who writer Tom MacRae, you can expect catchy songs.

The smash-hit musical features Layton Williams alongside Richie who both reprise their roles from the critically acclaimed West End production.

It's a feel-good show about 16-year-old Jamie as he overcomes prejudice and beats the bullies to steps into the spotlight and not afraid to be different.

Find out more at the Alexandra Theatre website here.

Tartuffe by the RSC at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
20 Mar - 4 April

This must-see sensational version of the Moliere classic by The Royal Shakespeare Company scintillates with its contemporary update to Asian families in Birmingham.

It went down a storm at The RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford upon Avon and now this cleverly adapted play returns with a stint at Birmingham Rep.

Tartuffe, RSC, Moliere, birmingham rep theatre
A scene from Tartuffe when it was first performed in 2018

Written by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning writers, Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, who was behind scripts for TV shows The Office, Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No.42, it makes the historic play so much more relevant and hilarious for modern-day audiences.

It follows a conman who hides behind religion to dupe a Muslim businessman but can the day be saved by the hilarious Bosnian cleaner?

There is also a post-show discussion on 1 April. This was one of my highlights of the year when it was first performed in 2018 and you can read the full review of Tartuffe by the RSC here.

Find out more about the show and ticket at the Birmingham Rep website here.

Once at Malvern Theatres and Alexandra Theatre
Malvern - 23 March - 28 March
Alexandra - 1 June - 6 June

Described as part busked concert and part aching romance that feels both spontaneous and freshly minted, this musical is based on the cult Irish indie movie.

It's already won over audiences in Broadway and the West End and now heads out on tour making stop-offs across the Midlands in 2020.

Once is a love story about a part-time Dublin guitarist busker who falls unexpectedly in love with a young Czech immigrant fellow musician. As we follow their relationship across five short days, big changes happen to both of them in little ways.

Once musical, birmingham, UK tour, Malvern, Alexandra Theatre
Hit musical Once is a heartfelt romance

Find out more about tickets at Malvern Theatres website here or at the Birmingham Alexandra Theatre website here.

Mariposa: a Transgender Tragedy at Patrick Studio
27 March - 28 March

Inspired by Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, DeNada Dance Theatre presents the new work by DanceXchange Artist in Residence Carlos Pons Guerra.

It's an operatic dance drama that transports Puccini's Orientalist libretto to post-revolution Cuba, where a hopeful rent boy is asked to sacrifice his gender in exchange for the love of a foreign sailor.

This world premiere is at Birmingham's Patrick Studio within Birmingham Hippodrome. Find out more at the DanceXchange website.

Mariposa, DanceXchange, Patrick Studio, UK tour, transgender dance
Mariposa is inspired by Madame Butterfly

The Winter's Tale at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
28 March - 2 October

Directed by Erica Whyman, this new RSC production explores the corrosive effect of jealousy and the domestic violence it engenders and is expected to be emotionally intense.

Composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, the older sister of Fleabag writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge composes the score for the play after previously working with Whyman on Hecuba and The Seven Acts of Mercy.

Winter's tale, RSC, Erica Whyman, Waller bridge
A Winter's Tale is part of the RSC's new season

So there will be plenty of attention paid to the music in this Shakespeare play as Waller-Bridge has become famous for creating scores for TV and film including Fleabag, Vita and Virginia and Vanity Fair.

Find out more about the show at the RSC website here.

Chaplin: Birth of a Tramp at The Old Rep Birmingham
15 April

Examining the relationship between Charlie Chaplin's experiences and creativity, this production shows how the star of silent films spun personal tragedy into universal comedy, in a psychological exploration of one of the world's most remarkable lives.

Critically-acclaimed Arrows & Traps theatre company is behind this show. The company also performs its version of Jekyll and Hyde at The Old Rep from 26 to 28 February.

Find out more at The Old Rep Theatre here.

Dial M For Murder at The Alexandra Theatre and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Birmingham - 20 April - 25 April
Wolverhampton - 14 July - 18 July

Tom Chambers returns to stage in this thriller following his successful stints in Top Hat and in Strictly Come Dancing.

He plays the charming but manipulative husband Tony Wendice with murder on his mind opposite Samantha Womack as his wife.

Dial m for murder, birmingham, Samantha Womack, uk tour tom chambers
A stage version of the thriller made famous by Alfred Hitchcock

Made famous by the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name, it's a gripping story with plenty of tension as Tony plans the perfect murder after finding out his wife has been unfaithful.

Find out more at the Alexandra Theatre website here or at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre here.

Cosi Fan Tutte at Malvern Theatres
23 April - April 24

English Touring Opera(ETO) is behind this version of Mozart's famous farce, sung in English.

Director Laura Attridge breathes new life into this classic opera while Holly Mathieson conducts ETO's resident period orchestra, the Old Street Band.

There will be a pre-show talk, free to ticket holders on Thursday 23 April at 6.30pm.

Cosi fan Tutte, ETO, UK tour, malvern
English Touring Opera comes to Malvern

ETO also performs the opera Giulio Cesare at Malvern Theatres on 25 April. For more information on tickets for both operas visit the Malvern Theatres website.

The Comedy Of Errors at Royal Shakespeare Theatre
25 April - 3 October

Actor and comedian Miles Jupp makes his RSC debut as Antipholus of Syracuse in this farce by Shakespeare about mistaken identity and separated families.

It's one of the exciting new RSC productions of the year directed by Philip Breen, who was behind the company's productions of The Shoemaker's Holiday and The Provoked Wife.

Miles Jupp, RSC debut, comedy of errors, Stratford upon Avon
Miles Jupp makes his RSC debut in 2020

Artistic Director at the RSC, Gregory Doran, explained: "The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays and one of his funniest. The action takes place in the Mediterranean port of Ephesus where two sets of identical twins separated since childhood are re-united, but not until a great deal of confusion ensues."

Find out more at the RSC website.

Carmen by Welsh National Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome
7 May

This new sassy and modernised version of Carmen by Welsh National Opera returns to Birmingham for one night only.

It transports the action perfectly to South America and has a fiesty Carmen who downs shots and carries a machine gun as a revolutionary.

Read a full review of the show here and find out more about tickets at the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Carmen, WNO, Birmingham Hippodrome, review, UK tour
Carmen has a South American flavour

Mamma Mia at Birmingham Hippodrome
12 May - 30 May

The feel-good romantic musical featuring all those catchy Abba hits is back so get ready to venture off to a Greek island for a silly but lovable tale of a girl trying to trace her real father while her mum is given a second chance at love.

It's over 20 years since it premiered in London but has stood the test of time. Find out more at the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Curated by Carlos: Mixed Bill from Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome
10 June - 13 June

This will be acclaimed dancer Carlos Acosta's first programme as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet that features one of the greatest ballerinas of our time, Alessandra Ferri, dancing with Acosta in a new duet.

It brings together dancers, visual artists, writers and thinkers who inspire Acosta today along with showcasing Birmingham Royal Ballet's dancers' technique, virtuosity and versatility.

The show opens with the world premiere of the new duet danced by Ferri and Acosta. It has been created by Goyo Montero and set to music by Bach to form a new part of Montero's ballet Chacona.

The programme also includes New Cardin - the world premiere of work by Daniela Cardim, former dancer with Dutch National Ballet, and Emmy Award-winning composer Paul Englishby.

The show concludes with Balanchine's virtuosic Theme and Variations to music by Tchaikovsky, one of the most technically and musically complicated ballets.

Find out more at the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

Brb, Don Quixote, birmingham Hippodrome, Carlos acosta
The adventures of Don Quixote in ballet form

Carlos Acosta's Don Quixote from Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome
19 June - 27 June

New Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta makes an impact with his version of the Cervantes-inspired comedy.

This will be the ballet's first UK performance outside London.

Based on Marius Petipa's virtuoso ballet with music by Ludwig Minkus, Don Quixote is a large scale production about the Knight that includes a mix of vibrant characters in an adventure of love and dreams.

Find out more at the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

The music of Judy, UK tour, symphony hall
Judy Garland's music revisited on stage

The Music Of Judy at Symphony Hall Birmingham
22 May

West End leading lady Rachel Tucker leads a celebration of Judy Garland with songs from 'Get Happy' to 'The Man That Got Away' and, of course, 'Over The Rainbow'.

Hosted by Richard Arnold, it's a must for fans of the musicals and live music. Find out more at the Symphony Hall website.

Les Miserables at Birmingham Hippodrome
30 June - 18 July

The epic musical returns to Birmingham with scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo.

The magnificent score of Les Misérables includes well loved songs including 'I Dreamed a Dream', ' On My Own', 'Bring Him Home', 'One Day More' and 'Master Of The House'.

Les miserables, tour, birmingham Hippodrome
Revolution and love in Les Mis at Birmingham Hippodrome

It's one of the most loved musicals of all time and an unforgettable experience in theatre.

Find out more at the Birmingham Hippodrome website here.

Phantom of the Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome

29 July - 12 September

Andrew Lloyd Webber's haunting and lavish musical returns with its sensational set and music that can't fail but impress.

The romantic, haunting and soaring score includes 'Music of the Night', 'All I Ask of You', 'Masquerade' and the iconic title song.

Phantom of the Opera, UK tour, birmingham Hippodrome,
Phenomenal musical Phantom of the Opera is in Birmingham over the summer

The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as 'The Phantom' who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talents and beauty of a young soprano, he lures her into his lair as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her.

But jealousy, madness and passions collide when The Phantom realises she is in love with another man.

The Phantom of the Opera set and costumes are unbelievablIy detailed and part of the reason this show has become a favourite around the world, winning over 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards and four Olivier Awards.

Find out more at the Birmingham Hippodrome website here.

Strictly Ballroom The Musical at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
5 October - 10 October

Baz Luhrmann's romantic comedy has been transferred on to stage and will waltz its way around the country on a UK tour.

Wolverhampton hosts Strictly Ballroom The Musical in October and it's set to have plenty of razzle and dazzle as it is directed by Strictly Come Dancing judge and famed choreographer Craig Revel Horwood.

The show bringa together a cast of over 20 world class performers as it tells the story of rebellious young ballroom dancer Scott Hastings who must dance with a beginner after falling out of favour with the Australian Federation.

Strictly Ballroom the musical, UK tour, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Craig Revel horwood
Craig Revel Horwood is part of the creative team behind Strictly Ballroom

There's plenty of comedy and romance along the way plus hit chart-topping songs from 'Time After Time' to 'Let's Dance',' I'm So Excited', 'Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps' and 'Love is in the Air'.

Find out more at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre website here.

Cinderella panto at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
5 December - 10 January, 2021

Comedian Aaron James will return for a second consecutive pantomime season in Wolverhampton to play Buttons in the theatre's own production of Cinderella.

Expect plenty of comedy impressions and slapstick humour.

Find out more about the show at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre website here.

Dreamgirls at The Alexandra Theatre
8 December - 2 January 2021

The big Christmas musical for the Alexandra is a spectacular showstopper with unbelievable vocals.

This dazzling multi-award winning show comes direct from the West End and features songs 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going', 'Listen', 'I Am Changing' and 'One Night Only'.

Following the story of girl band The Dreams – Effie, Lorrell and Deena – in the turbulent 1960's, it charts how the three talented young singers experience a rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business.

Dreamgirls, UK tour, birmingham, Alexandra Theatre
Musical blockbuster Dreamgirls is finally coming to Birmingham

An unforgettable show that you won't want to miss.

Find out more at the Alexandra Theatre website here.

Peter Pan at Malvern Theatres
10 December - 3 January, 2021

More fun and antics for all the family at this charming small theatre in Malvern.

Peter Pan , panto, Malvern Theatres
Peter Pan flies in to stage in Malvern

What the panto lacks in special effects, it makes up for in fun and interaction with the audience. It is usually one of the best traditional pantos in the region.

Find out more information at the Malvern Theatres website here.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears panto at Birmingham Hippodrome
19 December - 31 January, 2021

Matt Slack returns at the centre of the panto fun for Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

It's a similar production to the one that went down a storm at London Palladium last year and promises plenty of laughs, double entendres and all the 'bear' necessities for the festive season.

Goldilocks and the three bears, panto, birmingham Hippodrome, Matt slack
Matt Slack is back again for panto season

Find out more here at the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

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Why? Catch a great theatre show in and around Birmingham this year
When: January 2020 to January 2021
Phone: Various. Includes Alexandra Theatre - 0844 871 3011
Where: Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4DS
Cost: Varies from £15
Your Comment
Birmingham certainly has an active theatre community.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9626) 856 days ago
Wow what a diverse range of shows. There are a few on here I am longing to see. And the storyline behind Six is different indeed!
by Susan Hambidge (score: 1|22) 856 days ago
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