Investment in West Midlands theatre announced

Birmingham Rep awarded £332,000 to support next generation of producers and writers.

The West Midlands today builds on its status as a major force in supporting new theatre talent with the announcement that leading UK theatre company, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, is to offer further professional development opportunities for theatre makers, writers and directors for the next three years.

Two grants totalling £332,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust will enable The REP to run its hugely successful REP Foundry programme for a further three years until 2019 allowing it to discover, develop and support more theatre artists at the start of their careers.

Created in 2013 by Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director, REP Foundry aims to discover and promote the West Midlands’ most promising burgeoning talent. Writers, directors and theatre makers receive mentoring and professional support at The REP using the skills and knowledge of its team of experienced professionals alongside its network of specialist industry partners. They are also given the space to develop, share and create work for a variety of audiences.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre says:“Now more than ever theatre must continue to encourage ideas, talent and creativity and we’re passionate about making that happen in the heart of the UK. We’re thrilled with the success of REP Foundry and now thanks to the generous support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust we are able to further our capacity to discover, develop and help promote more new theatre talent.”

The REP has a long legacy of developing and launching new writers and theatre directors, and REP Foundry has established itself as a springboard for emerging talent. Fifty-four West Midlands based artists have benefitted from REP Foundry to date with some notable successes including the premieres of seven newly commissioned plays and employment at other regional theatres. Two former Foundry artists have become Associate Artists at The REP and other Foundry artists have since been able to tour their work.

This announcement comes on the back of The REP’s recent Ambition For Excellence Award from Arts Council England which will also furthers The REP’s commitment to making world class theatre with and for people across Birmingham. Over the next three years, Furnace will bring together local communities with extraordinary stories to tell and world class artists to create epic experiences of startling quality.

The first of these projects took place on 1st July with a UK wide project. We’re Here Because We’re Here by Jeremy Deller and Rufus Norris was produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre with the National Theatre and 14-18 Now and featured thousands of community performers. Furnace will bring theatre to a wider audience and builds both on The REP’s successful REP Foundry programme for developing emerging theatre talent by giving its graduates the chance to work on large scale international productions and new commissions, while also continuing the theatre’s programme of offering local community members the opportunity to perform on The REP’s stages and beyond.

Details of REP Foundry and how to apply can be found at: or by emailing Applications are now open for 2016/17, deadline 5pm on Monday 22nd August 2016.