Theatres of Birmingham – The Birmingham Rep

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The second in this series of blogs about the theatres of Birmingham visits the Rep.  Well, I say visit, if you visit the Rep at the moment you’ll come face to face with a building site while the new library is built next door and improvements are made to the theatre.  The Rep’s building might be closed, but the Rep are still producing shows across Birmingham visiting other theatres and performance spaces.

When in it’s current home (since 1971) on Centenary Square in Birmingham, it boasts two performance spaces – the main house (901 seats), and the studio theatre known as ‘the Door’.  The theatre has been in existance since 1913 and it’s original home, the Old Rep Theatre is still a much used theatre space in Birmigham.  Unlike most of the other theatres in Birmingham, the Rep has a history of producing many shows themselves (averageing on 20 a year) varying from well known shows and musicals (recently a new production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’) to the less known, as well as hosting a number of touring productions of (mainly) plays.  The theatre has many links with other theatres around the country, most notably the West Yorkshire Playhouse which it has produced shows alongside and ‘swap’ productions with regularly (most recently ‘The Wiz‘).

The theatre building is currently closed as mentioned above, and the theatre is producing a season of shows around Birmingham.  So far they’ve performed in an old factory, a kitchen in a house, the Alexandra Theatre and have just produced a Young Rep (the youth section) show in the Old Rep.  This Christmas they take Sleeping Beauty to the Crescent Theatre and the Rep’s smash hit The Snowman to the ICC.  When the theatre re-opens not only will it have improved backstage facilities but also a brand new 300 seat studio theatre giving the theatre another performance space.

Before the new library:

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Artistic impression of what it will look like when the library has been built:

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What kind of shows will you find at the Rep?

The Rep does have a variety of shows, but tends to have more plays and ‘highbrow’ shows than musicals and lighter shows.  However they do ensure that there is a good mix of their own inhouse shows and you’ll find anything from family books on the stage through to a translated version of an obscure German play.

Who goes to the Rep?

Depends on the show.  Some shows will attract families, others a large amount of school groups studying said play, while others will attract a very culturally aware crowd.

 What’s coming up? 

This Christmas Sleeping Beauty at the Crescent and The Snowman at the ICC.  In September/October The Imporatance of Being Ernest and The Travesties at the Old Rep.

First show seen here?

Trainspotting.

 Last show seen here? 

The Wiz (though at the Alexandra was a Rep production) / at the actual Rep, Little Shop of Horrors.

Over notable shows seen:

Once on this Island; East is East; The 39 Steps

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