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Birmingham Rep reveals final shows for 50th Anniversary Season

Counting And Cracking Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, Sukania Venugopal (c) Brett Boardman
Counting And Cracking Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, Sukania Venugopal (c) Brett Boardman

Birmingham Rep has announced the new shows for its 2022 programme of work, concluding the theatre’s 50th anniversary season.

As part of the newly announced shows is The Rep’s offering as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, a 6 month celebration of culture that surrounds the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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The line up will include the newly announced, critically acclaimed production from Australia Counting and Cracking plus the youth driven Festival Uncommon Riches.

Counting and Cracking arrives at The Rep as one of only two venues in the UK to host this epic story. They are joined by the previously announced Coming to England and Playboy of the West Indies – The Musical. The Birmingham 2022 Festival is generously supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Outside of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, Ramps On The Moon, the pioneering initiative committed to putting D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work will present a new production of Shakespeare’s raucous comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Robert Hastie. The performance features the use of integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning.

Associate company, Told by an Idiot, will present the world premiere of Would You Bet Against Us?, a hilarious and poignant celebration of the most important night in Aston Villa’s history, becoming European Cup champions in 1982. Would You Bet Against Us? marks the 40th anniversary of this huge event in the history of Birmingham football.

The acclaimed RSC production of Moliere’s classic Tartuffe directed by Iqbal Khan and adapted by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto to take place in Birmingham’s muslim community will open at the Rep in October.

Finally, The Rep will hold a symposium attended by comedians, directors, writers and academics entitled Serious About Comedy, a conversation and inquiry into the development of comedy in all its forms in association with the University of Birmingham.

Artistic Director Sean Foley said: “To have been able to programme and deliver a whole year of shows for The Rep in its 50th year in its ‘new’ theatre on Centenary Square has been a privilege; that it has also coincided with such an important year for the City is an incredible honour.

“Birmingham is on the move: the world’s most important super-diverse City has the Commonwealth Games in its sights, and The Rep does too… From the epic story of South Asian migration, Counting and Cracking, to the inspiring ‘Windrush story’ of Floella Benjamin’s Coming to England; from the extraordinary Young Rep festival of shows that is Uncommon Riches, to the musical comedy of Playboy of the West Indies – itself a wonderful example of how creativity shares and borrows across all borders, as Mustapha Matura’s version of Synge’s Irish classic is re-created as a new musical by a new generation of artists – these shows celebrate and interrogate how the legacy of Commonwealth has enriched our shared culture.

“Lastly, and firstly: comedy… to finally be able to bring Tartuffe, Moliere’s superb comedy about a conman, to The Rep stage, in Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto’s sparklingly funny new version set in Birmingham, (a hit at the RSC in 2018) is a joy.

“It was to be the first main stage show under my Artistic Directorship in March ’20, but never saw the light of day… Now, directed by our Associate Director Iqbal Khan – also Artistic Director of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony – it seems the perfect conclusion to The Rep’s 50th Anniversary Season.”

Associate Director Madeleine Kludje will direct her production of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Casey Bailey’s new play Grimeboy alongside works in The Door about Nina Simone, explorations of Queer History, and a new play about life after a major catastrophe.

Madeleine Kludje said: “This year will also see The Rep re-launch The Door. I’m excited to be re-thinking our most intimate theatre as a space dedicated to local, national and international artists to develop their work, and for those yet to break into the industry to develop their talent. It’s a theatre where audiences can get up close and personal with the new, the experimental and the extraordinary, and I can’t wait to direct GrimeBoy by Casey Bailey there this Spring”.

For more information and tickets, visit birmingham-rep.co.uk

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