Artistic Director, Sean Foley has announced his programme for the 50th anniversary season of Birmingham Repertory Theatre in its current home on Centenary Square with tickets on sale now at birmingham-rep.co.uk.
Opening the celebratory season, the smash-hit comedy-drama East Is East (3-25 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, been adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film and become a modern classic of comic-drama. Rediscover this joyous play where it all began.
This hilarious comedy follows George Khan as he strives to raise his family the proper Pakistani way but hasn’t counted on the distractions of 1970’s Salford. Abdul and Tariq aren’t ready to be married off, Saleem is pushing artistic boundaries, Meenah’s skirt is too short and Sajit just wants to hide in his parka. Can mum Ella keep the family together?
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. Written by the Tony Award winning Joe DiPietro (Memphis The Musical), the show has the full backing of Sir Tom himself who has been consulting with the producers throughout the development.
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 Whatstonstage Awards. He will be joined by a top-class creative team, including the legendary choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Philips CBE.
The REP’s Artistic Director Sean Foley will be bringing sunshine to Birmingham this Christmas as he directs his hit play, The Play What I Wrote (27 Nov-1 Jan). When the production opened in London’s West End, originally directed by Kenneth Branagh, every single review was a rave, every show a sell-out and it won every major theatre award.
‘Hamish’ has written a play, an epic set in the French Revolution called ‘A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple’. ‘Sean’, on the other hand, wants to continue with their double act. He believes that if they perform a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Hamish’s confidence will be restored and the double act will go on. But first Sean needs to persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Hamish wrote…
Every performance also famously features a special guest star. Previous mystery guest stars have included Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Nigel Havers, Jerry Hall, Sir Ian McKellen, Dawn French and Sting.
Floella Benjamin’s book about her own experiences coming to the UK, Coming to England (19 Feb-6 Mar) bursts onto the stage with music, storytelling, humour and pathos in a world premiere production.
10-year-old Floella is strong and brave. When her parents leave Trinidad for England her young life is turned upside down when she’s placed with a cruel foster ‘auntie’. Eventually sailing to join her parents, Floella’s excitement for her new life in England is short-lived, with the family subjected to racism and intolerance in 1960s’ London. Guided by her inspirational mother, and working twice as hard as her classmates, young Floella strives to overcome adversity and learns to love and accept herself.
Adapted by David Wood, ‘the national children’s dramatist’ (The Times), this thoughtful stage version of Floella’s inspirational true story follows her difficult and courageous journey towards becoming a TV icon, successful businesswoman and eventually Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham.
Artistic Director, 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 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 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.”