Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced its centenary season under its new artistic director, Roxana Silbert, which comprises two new commissions, plus a project that will see local children receive free theatre tickets.
As part of the Rep’s Children project, those born at City and Heartlands hospitals during the venue’s birthday week, from February 11 to 17, 2013, will be given free annual theatre experiences until they are aged ten.
A playwriting project will also be launched, called 100 Words, which will see young people and community members write 100-word plays linked to Birmingham Rep’s history that will be performed at the Old Rep venue during the birthday season.
A new stage adaptation of Philip Pullman’s I Was A Rat! will open the season and runs from February 12 to March 2, 2013 at the company’s original venue, the Old Rep Theatre.
It has been adapted and directed by Tereso Ludovico, with music composed by Frank Moon and recorded by local gyspy folk band The Destroyers and is being co-produced with Nottingham Playhouse, Ipswich New Wolsey Theatre and Italy-based theatre company Teatro Kismet.
The English version of Ludovico’s adaptation is by David Watson, who wrote his first play as a teenager for Birmingham Rep’s Transmissions programme, which was aimed at developing young playwrights.
Robin French’s new play Heather Gardner, which is based on Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, closes the birthday season. It will run from March 14 to 28, 2013 at the Old Rep Theatre. The director is yet to be announced.
A ticket scheme will be launched for the two birthday shows, in which 100 tickets for seats in the stalls will be sold at the equivalent 1913 price of 25p.
Alongside the shows there will also be a series of talks on March 23 and 24 about Birmingham Rep founder Sir Barry Jackson’s theatre achievements.
A new initiative will be launched too, called Rep Foundry, which will offer emerging directors, artists and companies a year-long development programme. Monthly scratch nights will also be introduced in 2013.
Actors David Suchet, Mark Williams, Janet Suzman and local musician Soweto Kinch have become patrons of the venue to support its centenary activities.
Silbert said: “Making theatre from scratch remains at the heart of The Rep’s work. Birmingham and the Black Country have historically been known as the workshop of the world and they are now celebrated as great cultural workshops too. I want to develop a hub of creativity and excellence, nurturing local talent, building partnerships at home, throughout the UK, and overseas to create world-class theatre made in Birmingham.”
Birmingham Rep will move back to its newly developed theatre alongside the Library of Birmingham in September 2013 when Silbert will present her first full season of work.