Birmingham Rep announces autumn season marking 50 years on Centenary Square

Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced its programme for the 50th anniversary season of the venue in its current home on Centenary Square.

Opening the celebratory season, the smash-hit comedy-drama East Is East returns home for its 25th anniversary between 4th and 25th September.

Since premiering on The REP’s stage in 1996, East Is East has sold out three London runs, been adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film and become a modern classic of comic-drama. This hilarious comedy follows George Khan as he strives to raise his family the proper Pakistani way but hasn’t counted on the distractions of 1970’s Salford.

What’s New Pussycat? plays between 8th October and 14th November. It's a brand-new musical that invites you to experience the swinging sixties of London. The show includes the iconic hit songs of the internationally celebrated singer Tom Jones married with Henry Fielding’s classic comic novel – The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling

The show will be directed by Luke Sheppard whose most recent production, & Juliet, has taken the West End by storm winning 3 Olivier Awards and 6 Whatstonstage Awards. He will be joined by a top-class creative team, including the legendary choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Philips CBE. 

Between 27th November and 1st January, The REP’s Artistic Director Sean Foley will be bringing sunshine to Birmingham at Christmas as he directs his hit show, The Play What I Wrote. When the production opened in London’s West End, originally directed by Kenneth Branagh, every single review was a rave, every show a sell-out and it won every major theatre award.  

The plot follows 'Hamish' who has written a play, an epic set in the French Revolution called ‘A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple’. 'Sean', on the other hand, wants to continue with their double act. He believes that if they perform a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Hamish’s confidence will be restored and the double act will go on. But first Sean needs to persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Hamish wrote. 


Every performance also famously features a special guest star, with the list of previous names including Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue and Sir Ian McKellen.  Sean said:

“I’m thrilled to be able to announce what has become, in effect, my first season of work at this iconic and beloved theatre. All theatres have undergone tremendous challenges over the past year, and very many tough decisions have had to be made to get us to this point.

"We are tremendously excited by the shows and proud of the amazing array of creative talent from our freelance community that will be at The REP for this very special 50th Anniversary Season of the company on Centenary Square.

"The programme is testament to the whole company’s determination and desire to share the amazing event of live theatre with our audiences again, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back - back to entertainment, to debate, to laughter, and to the sheer joy of experiencing the excitement that being part of a great night out brings.” 

Sean Foley also announced that he has commissioned a new play from Sarfraz Manzoor. The Muslim Box is a contemporary comedy about Islam, identity and the in-laws. Sarfraz said:

“When The REP staged the world premiere of Ayub Khan Din's East Is East it was a play and later a film that massively influenced me, which is why I am so incredibly excited by the opportunity to write my first play for the same stage as that seminal piece of theatre. I am beyond happy to be working together and can't wait to get cracking.”  

Details of further productions in both The Door and the Studio spaces at The REP will be announced in due course.  Tickets go on sale to Members from Monday 26 April and on general sale from 10am, Friday 30 April at


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