Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Announce Exciting 2018 Autumn and Winter Season
- Ian Rankin’s legendary detective is brought to the stage for the first time in a brand new story Rebus: Long Shadows, written by Ian alongside award-winning playwright Rona Munro.
- Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez star in a brand new staging of Patrick Barlow’s comedy, The Messiah.
- Playwright, Leo Butler, embarks on a psychedelic medical trial in All You Need Is LSD – a world première co-produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre with Told by an Idiot.
- City life, survival and financial inequality are scrutinised in The Capital – a new vivid, visual story by Stan’s Cafe in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
- The world première of Anna Jordan’s Pop Music, co-commissioned and produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre with Paines Plough. Pop Music will also tour nationally and locally to community venues.
- The world première of a new bi-lingual play, Orange Polar Bear by UK playwright Evan Placey and Korean playwright, Ko Sun Duck.
- The latest play from Penelope Skinner – Meek produced in association with Headlong.
- Stuff, a new play by Janice Connolly (Women and Theatre) and Michael Crouch, looks at hoarding and a society drunk on consumption.
- Plus the previously announced REP commission of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Melly Still, and the festive spectacular, The Wizard of Oz, directed by Liam Steel.
1000 tickets at £5 to be made available to 16 - 30 year olds throughout the Autumn season.
Celebrating the NHS at 70, local NHS employees at City and Sandwell Hospitals will receive 70% discount off a show of their choice in the Autumn season. Plus, 70 free tickets to The Wizard of Oz will be distributed to NHS employees and their families as nominated by colleagues and members of the public.
Investment and support continues to be given to local directors, writers, artists and companies through REP Foundry and showcased in the REP Foundry Festival in November.
With the biggest learning and participation department in any UK theatre, The REP will be inspiring, creating and teaching young people in schools on every day of the academic year including long-term partnerships with 18 Birmingham and West Midlands schools.
Lenny Henry, Ian McDiarmid, Meera Syal and Jason Donovan give their support by becoming REP First Ambassadors, helping the theatre raise £1million pounds to invest in new work and new talent.
Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre has today announced plans for the theatre’s 2018 Autumn and Winter season. Speaking of the forthcoming programme, Roxana said:
“It is with enormous pleasure that we announce our new season for Autumn and Winter 2018. New work is the life blood of theatre and The REP is honoured to be working with the best writers of their generation with 11 new plays across our three stages of which six will be premièring at The REP.
“I’m particularly proud that this season both Ian Rankin and Alice Sebold have entrusted us with bringing their stories to life in Birmingham.
“Championing and empowering a diverse range of voices is in The REP’s DNA and as always I’m thrilled with the number of female writers in our season – Rona Munro, Bryony Lavery, Penelope Skinner, Anna Jordan, Selina Thompson, Janice Connolly , Ko Sun Duck and Katori Hall.
“We also announce today, our continued commitment to offering affordable, accessible tickets to young people by making available 1000 tickets at £5 for 16- 30 year olds. Alongside this, inspiring and teaching through drama and creativity is more important than ever and in the Autumn The REP drives this further forward by being in schools across Birmingham every single day of the academic year.
“Finally, in celebrating the NHS At 70 we will be inviting all NHS workers at our local City and Sandwell Hospitals a 70% discount on shows during the Autumn season, plus members of the public can nominate an NHS worker to receive tickets for them and their families to see The Wizard of Oz at Christmas.”
The first world première of the season is Rebus: Long Shadows (20 September – 6 October), the latest story in Ian Rankin’s legendary detective series which will be told exclusively on stage. Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels have dominated the detective fiction market with the subsequent television series ensuring the detective’s legendary status. Now, alongside award-winning playwright Rona Munro, Ian Rankin brings his beloved creation to the stage for the very first time.
Ian Rankin said:
"I've long wanted to see John Rebus on a theatre stage, and it was such a privilege to work with Rona Munro in fashioning a brand new story that could best be told 'in the flesh'. Having lived with Rebus for over thirty years, I know that he has cast many long shadows, but this time those same shadows threaten to engulf him in a story that is tense, gripping, deep and thoughtful. I hope audiences will agree!"
Playwright Rona Munro said:
“Adapting one of the most iconic characters in detective fiction was both daunting and exhilarating. It was a collaborative process that completely depended on Ian Rankin’s generosity in sharing the man he made and knows so well. We hope that audiences who also know Rebus will see him live, and that audiences who’ve never met the man are in for an exciting introduction.”
Produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Rebus: Long Shadows will be directed by Roxana Silbert and will feature Charles Lawson as John Rebus.
A brand new staging of The Messiah (18 – 27 October) starring Hugh Dennis, Lesley Garrett and John Marquez will be produced and opened by The REP, in partnership with Simon Friend, Mark Goucher and Howard Panter, ahead of a UK tour and West End run. A comedy of biblical proportions, written and directed by Patrick Barlow (The 39 Steps), The Messiah sees a travelling theatre troupe of two actors and an opera singer arrive on camel back in the biblical town of Birmingham to masterfully enact the greatest story ever told.
Pop Music (12 – 22 September) is the hotly awaited new play from Bruntwood Prize winner, Anna Jordan, co-commissioned and co-produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre with Paines Plough, and directed by James Grieve. Turbo charged by non-stop hits from the past 20 years of chart toppers, Pop Music is a euphoric, nostalgic, pop-tastic theatre party for anyone who’s ever made a fool of themselves on the dance floor. Alongside a national tour, Pop Music will be offered to local community venues in areas of low cultural engagement in Birmingham, free of charge, as part of The REP's ongoing commitment to great art for all.
All You Need Is LSD (4 – 13 October) is an exhilarating and original comedy by one of the UK’s finest playwrights, Leo Butler, co-produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre with the acclaimed Told by an Idiot. The drugs debate is one that won’t go away and in Leo’s unique part history and part wild fantasy play, directed by Paul Hunter, he jumps down the rabbit-hole of a medical trial in search of enlightenment. Along the way he meets an array of characters from Aldous Huxley and The Beatles, to Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan, whose own stories in the history of LSD are hilariously and poignantly uncovered.
Local treasure and extraordinary comedienne, Janice Connolly collaborates with brilliant puppeteer, Michael Crouch and REP Associate Director, Daniel Bailey. They find themselves trapped amongst objects and clutter in the world premiere of Stuff (17 – 20 October), produced by Women and Theatre in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Created through interviews with self-identified hoarders, Stuff explores our emotional connections to objects and a society drunk on consumption.
The Capital (24 – 27 October) is the new production and world première from Stan’s Cafe, produced in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. City lives, ambition and financial inequality are scrutinised as five very different people’s lives converge and diverge, as they criss-cross the city in pursuit of five very different ambitions. The Capital uses moving walkways, bold performance and a rich soundtrack to tell a vivid visual story.
Two fifteen year olds from opposite sides of the world find themselves adrift in a mysterious space, floating like two polar bears on melting icebergs in Orange Polar Bear (1 – 10 November), a new bi-lingual play by UK playwright Evan Placey and Korean playwright, Ko Sun Duck. Premièring at The REP, Orange Polar Bear is an urgent play that gives voice to the anger and frustration of a young generation trying to find their place in an overwhelming, fast-changing world and is co-produced with Hanyong Theatre, the National Theatre Company of Korea and Birmingham City University. Orange Polar Bear will also play Seoul, South Korea.
Penelope Skinner’s elegantly mysterious new play Meek (4 – 8 September) comes to The REP following its première at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Skinner’s urgent play for Headlong in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, is a searing evocation of fraught times; a haunting vision of ruthless authoritarianism, tense friendships and one woman’s determination not to be broken.
Elsewhere in the season are the previously announced Mischief Theatre’s smash-and-grab hit The Comedy About A Bank Robbery (23 August – 8 September) currently in its third year in the West End and now celebrating its regional première at The REP ahead of a UK tour; Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (30 October – 10 November) directed by Melly Still, commissioned by The REP and co-produced with Royal and Derngate Northampton, Northern Stage and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse; and the festive spectacular The Wizard of Oz (24 November – 13 January), directed by Liam Steel. Continuing The REP’s commitment to making more performances accessible to everyone, all performances of The Wizard of Oz will be Captioned and Audio Described, meaning that audiences with visual or hearing impairments can enjoy these services on any performance. January 2019 sees the return of the enchanting live stage show of The Snowman (16 – 26 January) 25 years after it first came to life at The REP.
Productions visiting The REP include Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s The Wipers Times (8 – 13 October) which tells the true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the Great War. Birmingham writer / performer and REP Foundry graduate, Selina Thompson’s solo show about grief, ancestry, home and colonialism, Salt (15 – 16 October) visits The REP, as does Oladipo Agboluage’s play New Nigerians (25 – 29 September); Lisa Hammond and Rachel Spence’s Still No Idea (23 – 27 October); Imitating The Dog’s retelling of Joseph Conrad’s classic, Heart of Darkness (20 – 24 November) and Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (27 November – 1 December) – a sharp and intimate play about Martin Luther King.
Complementing the autumn theatre programme, The REP plays host to a comedy season of one-night stands from Iain Stirling, Chris Ramsey, Juliette Burton, Kai Samra and Ahir Shar plus a number of shows as part of the Birmingham Improv Festival.
One year on from launching the theatre’s REP First campaign to raise £1million over three years to ensure the sustainability of The REP for future generations, actors Lenny Henry, Ian McDiarmid, Meera Syal and Jason Donovan, all of whom have worked at The REP, pledge their support by becoming REP First ambassadors. In the coming months all four actors will be sharing via an exclusive social media campaign exactly why they support The REP’s ambitions for new work, new artistic talent and the need to grow new audiences.
Tickets for Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Autumn and Winter 2018 season go on sale to members on Monday 9 April with general booking opening on Monday 16 April.
Box Office: 0121 236 4455 / birmingham-rep.co.uk