Grant means Birmingham REP can plan for the future

Published: 24 October 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Artistic director Sean Foley Credit: Kris Askey
Executive director Rachael Thomas Credit: Kris Askey
Trustee of the board Adrian Lester Credit: Joseph Sinclair

Birmingham REP has been awarded a grant of £1.38 million from the government's Culture Recovery Fund which will offer it “short-term security and the opportunity to plan for the future”.

Artistic director Sean Foley and executive director Rachael Thomas said, "without this essential grant, there’s no doubt that the future of our historic theatre would have been greatly compromised. We can now channel our efforts into securing the future of the REP, protecting jobs and employing freelancers.

"We can now look forward to investing in putting work on our stages and welcoming audiences back safely to the REP. A season of work will be announced in the coming months.”

Adrian Lester, a trustee of the REP’s board, commented, “the REP was one of the main reasons I applied to drama school. It was the first theatre I visited as a child and the first theatre I ever performed in. Without it, my life may have taken a completely different course.

“The impact the REP has goes far beyond the economic contribution it makes to my home city—it’s an essential and vital pathway for aspiring talent and for creating truly world-class productions—and for welcoming back that talent when it has flowered.

“This wonderful news ensures that this historic, pioneering theatre, now under the exciting new leadership of Sean and Rachael, will be there to inspire and entertain again when it’s possible to return to full production."

Peter Knott, Arts Council England area director, added, "the REP is a cornerstone of Birmingham's cultural offer and this grant will offer them some short-term security and the opportunity to plan for the future.

“As the UK's oldest building-based theatre company and Birmingham's only producing theatre, the REP plays a crucial role in bringing inspiring and diverse theatre to the region. At a time when many communities and organisations face difficult challenges, this is a chance to continue on the road to recovery, post-COVID."