Shaw thing as Martin gets angry in Birmingham

Steve Orme

Martin Shaw will return to his home city to play the lead in a new version of Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men and Mark Williams will feature in Moliere’s satire Tartuffe in the first season after Birmingham REP reopens its doors.

The theatre has been closed for more than two years for a major refurbishment.

New artistic director Roxana Silbert has programmed her first full season at the REP which will open on Tuesday 3 September with a new 300-seat studio theatre.

She said, “This is an historic occasion and I’m thrilled that we are back home after two-and-a-half years working off-site.

“We’re reopening the theatre with an exhilarating season of classics, new work, great hits, fantastic names, an extraordinary range of local talent very keen to perform at the REP and some brilliant collaborative and contemporary theatre-making. 

“Thanks to the restoration, the theatre looks as striking as it did when it first opened in 1971. Our new studio space, which is shared with our new next-door neighbour the Library of Birmingham, provides us with a beautiful and essential 300-seat auditorium.

“Our season champions new work, nurtures local talent, collaborates with theatre companies both in the UK and overseas and, I hope, creates great theatre that is well and truly made in Birmingham.”

The REP reopens with the National Theatre production of Alan Bennett’s comedy People. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, the show starts a UK tour at the REP from 3 until 21 September.

The first production in the new Studio will be the world premiere of The Legend of Mike Smith (12-28 September), written by and starring Birmingham-born MOBO award-winning musician Soweto Kinch. 

The play tells the story of an aspiring musician’s struggle to succeed. Soweto Kinch’s music will be played live and choreography will be by leading hip-hop artist Jonzi D.

The first production in the REP’s third space The Door will also be a world première. Kate Tempest’s play Hopelessly Devoted – A Love Story of Extremism (19 September – 5 October) will be a co-production with Paines Plough. It then goes on a national tour.

Roxana Silbert’s production of David Grieg’s Dunsinane (24 – 28 September) will be the second production in the main auditorium. This “sequel” to Macbeth, co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and the RSC, will again feature Siobhan Redmond as Lady Macbeth.

A new production of Twelve Angry Men runs at the REP from 4 until 19 October and then transfers to the West End.

The second show in the new Studio will be the UK première of Europa (16 – 19 October), a “satirical and savage snapshot of European life”. Europa is the result of a two-year EU-funded project in which UK writer Steve Waters has worked with writers from Germany, Croatia and Poland.

Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman visits the REP from 21 until 26 October as part of a UK tour. It stars Lynda Bellingham and Christopher Timothy.

In her first production for the REP, Roxana Silbert will direct Mark Williams of The Fast Show in Chris Campbell’s new staging of Molière’s Tartuffe. It transfers the comedy to modern-day West Midlands. It runs from 1 until 16 November.

The debut season in the Studio will also feature work from ATC with the premiere of David Greig’s latest play The Events (19-23 November) which was inspired by the Anders Revik killings in Norway.

The Christmas offering will be Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol which was premièred by the REP in 2009. It will run from 27 December until 4 January.

The Christmas season also marks the return of the family favourite The Snowman from 8 until 18 January.