Birmingham Repertory Theatre announces autumn/winter programme

World premieres amongst highlights of Rep season.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced its new season of work for Autumn and Winter 2016, including three world premières alongside a dynamic programme of new stagings of classic plays and stories. It also announces a new initiative, Furnace, which furthers The REP’s commitment to making world class theatre with and for people across Birmingham.

Talking about the programme for the season ahead, Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director says: “We continue to attract fantastic audiences by commissioning the best new plays, writers and directors in the country and hosting the cream of national and international companies and theatre makers. I’m particularly proud to be premiering three plays next season that have local, national and international resonance.

“As we near the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell’s explosive Rivers of Blood speech I’m excited to be working once again with the brilliant Ian McDiarmid for Chris Hannan’s, What Shadows, a moving and timely exploration of the human impact of this most provocative of speeches.

“The season also sees us in a unique collaboration with one of the country’s great orchestras, the CBSO, for composer Nick Powell’s beautiful, haunting observations on loneliness and loss in Cold Calling: The Arctic Project. During this Olympic year, we also shine a light on a quiet hero – Birmingham’s ice-skating champion, John Curry, who was famously outed after wining gold at the 1978 Olympics – in Looking For John.

“Nikolai Foster’s fresh and stylish production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest launches the season and Halloween offers a terrifying production of The Exorcist. We have two outstanding family shows, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s touching novel and Bryony Lavery’s swashbuckling version of Treasure Island, a Christmas treat for all the family.”

Over the next three years, The REP’s new initiative, Furnace will bring together local communities with extraordinary stories to tell and world class artists to create epic experiences of startling quality. Starting this summer with a large-scale UK wide community project, 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. More details of individual projects within Furnace will be announced in early July.

Roxana Silbert says of Furnace: “Over the last three years we’ve opened our doors to local emerging artists, writers, directors and theatre companies giving them space and support, so it feels only natural that our next step is to involve the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands in making theatre with them for our stages and elsewhere. We are constantly striving to attract new audiences and widen our appeal and Furnace is an exciting way to open up our building as well as taking theatre to the heart of a range of communities.”

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