Shropshire Star

Birmingham Rep's 50th anniversary programme announced

Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced a programme of events to mark its 50th anniversary season.

Sean Foley (Image: Kris Askey)

Following months of closures, theatre staff are delighted to welcome visitors back into seats.

Opening the celebratory season is the hit comedy drama East Is East, which returns home for its 25th anniversary since premiering on The Rep's stage in 1996, performed from September 4 to 25.

The season will also feature new musical, What’s New Pussycat?, packed with songs from Tom Jones married with Henry Fielding's classic comic novel, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, from October 8 to November 14.

The full programme of productions can be viewed on The Rep's website.

Sean Foley, artistic director, said: “I’m thrilled to be able to announce what has become, in effect, my first season of work at this iconic and beloved theatre.

"All theatres have undergone tremendous challenges over the past year, and very many tough decisions have had to be made to get us to this point.

"We are tremendously excited by the shows and proud of the amazing array of creative talent from our freelance community that will be at The REP for this very special 50th Anniversary Season of the company on Centenary Square.

The REP theatre in Centenary Square, Birmingham (Image: Kris Askey)

"The programme is testament to the whole company’s determination and desire to share the amazing event of live theatre with our audiences again, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back - back to entertainment, to debate, to laughter, and to the sheer joy of experiencing the excitement that being part of a great night out brings.”

Tickets go on sale to members from Monday, April 26 and on general sale from 10am, Friday, April 30 at

Sean Foley also announced that he has commissioned a new play from Sarfraz Manzoor. The Muslim Box is a contemporary comedy about Islam, identity and the in-laws.

Sarfraz Mansoor said: “When The REP staged the world premiere of Ayub Khan Din's East Is East it was a play and later a film that massively influenced me, which is why I am so incredibly excited by the opportunity to write my first play for the same stage as that seminal piece of theatre.

"I am beyond happy to be working together and can't wait to get cracking.”

Tanika Gupta will also write a new adaptation of Hedda Gabler set in the post-war British film industry and reimagining the play through the lens of race as well as misogyny.

Outside of the theatre, Robin French, Bryony Lavery and Frank Skinner are among a group of writers who have written plays as part of The Park Bench Plays which will all be performed on and around park benches throughout Birmingham.

The productions will be performed in front of live audiences and also will be streamed digitally.

Details of further productions in both The Door and the Studio spaces at The REP will be announced in the coming weeks.

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