Emerging West Midlands writers and directors given major boost

Emerging theatre artists in the West Midlands have been given a boost with the news that, thanks to significant support from The Leverhulme Trust, Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s REP Foundry artist development programme will continue until 2016.  


REP Foundry_Roxana Silbert REP artistic director centre with foundry artists photo John James

REP Foundry –  Roxana Silbert, REP artistic director, centre with foundry artists. Photo: John James


The Leverhulme Trust has awarded Birmingham Repertory Theatre an Arts Scholarship of £136,950 over three years towards its REP Foundry initiative.  Created under The REP’s new artistic director, Roxana Silbert in January 2013, REP Foundry aims to discover and promote the West Midlands’ most promising burgeoning talent with a group of 18 writers, directors and theatre makers receiving mentoring and professional support from staff at The REP and leading theatre practitioners.   As well as master classes with theatre professionals REP Foundry artists have the opportunity to present work in progress in front of an audience at monthly scratch performance nights.

Jean Cater of the Leverhulme Trust said: “Arts Scholarships are awarded to support the development of artistic talent across disciplines, by providing bursaries for artists and performers, or by supporting innovative approaches to teaching. At a time when funding for the arts is generally being reduced throughout the UK, these scholarships will make a valuable contribution to the development of the next generation of creative talent.  We congratulate Birmingham Repertory Theatre on their successful bid, which will provide 18 artists with exciting new opportunities to develop their careers in theatre and performance.”

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre said the award will make a significant difference to REP Foundry: “The Leverhulme Trust’s grant will make an invaluable contribution towards nurturing and developing the West Midlands’ next generation of theatre makers.  With our first 18 REP Foundry artists already receiving professional mentoring and support we are thrilled that over the next three years we will be able to support a further 54 West Midlands based theatre makers.”

The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. The Trust’s Arts Scholarships provide funds for three years for training opportunities across the whole range of artistic disciplines in the fine and performing arts, but not normally within universities.

The first REP Foundry scratch performance nights have already taken place with 11 of the theatre artists sharing their work in front of a live audience. Future REP Foundry nights take place on the last Thursday of the month at The Edge, Cheapside, Digbeth until July, and then at the newly re-opened Birmingham Repertory Theatre in October and November.

For tickets, costing £5, and further information call 0121 236 4455 or visit Birmingham-rep.co.uk/repfoundry.  Applications for the 2014 REP Foundry scheme will be announced in Autumn 2013.