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Birmingham REP announce ambitious autumn programme


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Artistic Director Sean Foley has today announced his programme for the 50th anniversary season of Birmingham Repertory Theatre in its current home on Centenary Square.

A resolutely upbeat programme of artistically ambitious popular theatre, focusing on new musicals, family work and comedy, confirms the ambition to make The REP a world-class theatre in Birmingham for everyone.

Opening the celebratory season, the smash-hit comedy-drama East Is East (4-25 Sep) returns home for its 25th anniversary. Since premiering on The REP’s stage in 1996, East Is East has sold out three London runs, adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film, and became a modern classic of comic drama. Rediscover this joyous play where it all began.

Sean Foley 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 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.”

What’s New Pussycat? (8 Oct-14 Nov) is a brand-new musical that invites you to experience the Swinging Sixties of London, as the thrilling iconic hit songs of the internationally celebrated singer Tom Jones are married with Henry Fielding’s classic comic novel – The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling.

This joyous, romantic, and highly entertaining new musical includes Tom Jones’ greatest hit songs: Green, Green Grass of Home; It’s Not Unusual, Leave Your Hat On, Delilah, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Sex Bomb and, of course, What’s New Pussycat?. 

The show will be directed by Luke Sheppard, whose most recent production – the acclaimed & Juliet – has taken the West End by storm and won 3 Olivier Awards and 6 WhatsOnStage Awards. He will be joined by a top-class creative team, including the legendary choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Philips CBE.


Mr 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.”

Finally, Foley has announced Birmingham filmmaker Daniel Alexander as an Artistic Associate of the theatre. He joins the Associates’ group, including Mohammed Ali, Lolita Chakrabarti, Paul Hunter, Tyrone Huggins, Debbie Isitt, Lorna Laidlaw, Drew McOnie, Meera Syal, Richard Thomas and Selina Thompson. 

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


Written by: David Watkins

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